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Useful Temperate Plants

Berberis cretica

L.

Berberidaceae

+ Synonyms

Berberis sinensis cretica (L.) Regel

Berberis vulgaris cretica (L.) Hook.f. & Thomson

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Berberis cretica is a low-growing, sometimes prostrate, deciduous shrub with crooked branches that are formidably armed with three-forked spines. Although often procumbent, the plant can ometimes reach a height of up to 150cm[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant used to be cultivated in Cyprus for the dyestuff obtained from its roots and stems[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The fruit is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food, whilst the plant has a range of potential medicinal applications. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid berberine - this is most concentrated in the roots, stems and inner bark, and least concentrated in the fruits. In small quantities berberine has a range of effective medicinal applications but, in excess, can cause vomiting, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, lethargy, and other ill-effects.
The fruit of most, if not all, members of this genus are more or less edible and can be eaten in quantity since the levels of berberine in the fruit are very low.

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Southeast Europe - Greece to Cypress and western Turkey

Habitat

Rocky places on mountain slopes, usually above 900 metres[
1160
Title
Influence of extraction procedures on phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Cretan barberry herb
Publication
Food Chemistry 138 (2013) 406-413
Author
Kukula-Koch W.; Aligiannis N.; Halabalaki M.; Skaltsounis A.
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Species in this genus generaly prefer a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but they are by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Some Berberis species (especially Berberis vulgaris) harbour the black stem-rust fungus (Puccinia graminis Persoon). This is a major disease of wheat and barley crops and can spread from infected barberries to the grain crop. The sale or transport of susceptible or untested species of Berberis is illegal in the United States and Canada[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. This species has been found to be susceptible to the disease[
1155
Title
Rust Susceptible Berberis, Mahoberberis, and Mahonia Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
https://www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/st-paul-mn/cereal-disease-lab/docs/barberry/rust-susceptible-berberis-mahoberberis-and-mahonia/
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research S
Year
2017
ISBN
 
Description
A list of Berberidaceae that are considered to be susceptible to black stem-rust fungus.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. The mauve-black fruit is globose[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Medicinal

The fruits and leaves are strongly antioxidant[
1160
Title
Influence of extraction procedures on phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Cretan barberry herb
Publication
Food Chemistry 138 (2013) 406-413
Author
Kukula-Koch W.; Aligiannis N.; Halabalaki M.; Skaltsounis A.
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Extracts obtained from the fruit and leaves could be applied in the production of health-promoting dietary supplements rich in flavonoids and phenolics[
1160
Title
Influence of extraction procedures on phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Cretan barberry herb
Publication
Food Chemistry 138 (2013) 406-413
Author
Kukula-Koch W.; Aligiannis N.; Halabalaki M.; Skaltsounis A.
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Both the water and the ethanol extracts of the root have been shown to have a significant activity against both chloroquine-sensitive and resistant Plasmodium falciparum (a protozoan parasite that can cause malaria) strains. The antimalarial activity of these extracts might be attributed mainly to isoquinoline alkaloids, for example berberin, which have been isolated from the radix[
1159
Title
Evaluation of the antimalarial and antileishmanial activity of plants from the Greek island of Crete
Publication
Journal of Natural Medicines (2007) 61:38-45
Author
Fokialakis N.; Kalpoutzakis E.; Tekwani B.L. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A survey of 65 species of plants for their anti parasitic activity,
]

Berberries (the leaves, fruits, roots and stems) are generally considered to be cholagogue, choleretic, antiinflammatory and febrifuge[
1160
Title
Influence of extraction procedures on phenolic content and antioxidant activity of Cretan barberry herb
Publication
Food Chemistry 138 (2013) 406-413
Author
Kukula-Koch W.; Aligiannis N.; Halabalaki M.; Skaltsounis A.
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The alkaloid berberine, which is universally present in the roots and stems of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
It should not be used in combination with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
Berberine has also shown antitumour activity[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

Other Uses

A dye is obtained from the plant[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. No further information is given. It is most likely to be a yellow dye, obtained from the inner bark of the roots and stems, though it could possibly be the fruit that is used to give reds or purples[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
], whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, autumn in a frame[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-08-18. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Berberis+cretica>

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