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Useful Temperate Plants

Berberis wallichiana

DC.

Berberidaceae


Unless a more recent treatment has been published, we are in general following the treatment in Flora of China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. However, there is a new revision of the Chinese Berberis species currently being prepared (2016) and it is likely that it will lead to several revisions once it is published[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Berberis atrovirens Wall. ex G.Don

Berberis atroviridis Steud.

Berberis macrophylla Lindl.

Berberis poluninii Ahrendt

Common Name:

Berberis wallichiana

General Information

Berberis wallichiana is an erect, spiny, evergreen shrub that is much-branched from the base; it can grow up to 200cm tall[
1100
Title
A Revision of Berberis ss (Berberidaceae) in Nepal
Publication
Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 69, pp 447­522
Author
B. Adhikari, C. A. Pendry, R. T. Pennington and R. I. Milne
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive revision of the Barberry species in Nepal, reducing a number of previously accepted species to synonymy and describing two new species.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.
It is proposed that the plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2016)[
100
Title
Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1969
ISBN
0192176218
Description
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
].

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

272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
,
1100
Title
A Revision of Berberis ss (Berberidaceae) in Nepal
Publication
Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 69, pp 447­522
Author
B. Adhikari, C. A. Pendry, R. T. Pennington and R. I. Milne
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive revision of the Barberry species in Nepal, reducing a number of previously accepted species to synonymy and describing two new species.

Range

E. Asia - Himalayas from Nepal to Myanmar

Habitat

Open ground; at elevations from 2,000 - 3,400 metres in Nepal[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. Edges of Rhododendron-oak forests[
1100
Title
A Revision of Berberis ss (Berberidaceae) in Nepal
Publication
Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 69, pp 447­522
Author
B. Adhikari, C. A. Pendry, R. T. Pennington and R. I. Milne
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive revision of the Barberry species in Nepal, reducing a number of previously accepted species to synonymy and describing two new species.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height3.00 m
PollinatorsInsects, Self
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Species in this genus generally prefer a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but 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.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils.
Plants can be pruned back quite severely, they resprout well from the base[
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.
].
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
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.
]. We have no data on susceptibility for this species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. The black, ellipsoid berries are 5 - 10mm long[
1100
Title
A Revision of Berberis ss (Berberidaceae) in Nepal
Publication
Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 69, pp 447­522
Author
B. Adhikari, C. A. Pendry, R. T. Pennington and R. I. Milne
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
A comprehensive revision of the Barberry species in Nepal, reducing a number of previously accepted species to synonymy and describing two new species.
].

Medicinal

The roots contain the alkaloids berberine, oxyacanthine and umbellantine[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
]. They are antibacterial and are used in Vietnam in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, ophthalmia and dyspepsia[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
].

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

The roots and stems of all Berberis species contain alkaloids and, when cut open, are a strong yellow colour. This has been utilized by various cultures to make a yellow dye for cloth etc[
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. Germination averages out at about 90%[
98
Title
Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Publication
Forestry Commission Bulletin
Author
Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. F.
Publisher
HMSO; London
Year
1982
ISBN
0-11-710152-4
Description
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.
].
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.
].
Suckers, removed in late autumn/early winter and planted out in situ or potted up and planted out in late spring[
3
Title
Growing Unusual Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons. A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1972
ISBN
0-7153-5531-7
Description
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
,
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.
].

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