Unless a more recent treatment has been published, we are in general following the treatment in Flora of China[
]. 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[
Berberis capillaris Cox ex Ahrendt
Berberis ludlowii Ahrendt.
Berberis macrosepala deleica Ahrendt.
Berberis tianbaoshanensis S.Y.Bao
Berberis muliensis is an erect, spiny, deciduous shrub, much branched from the base; it can grow up to 200cm tall[
An attractive shrub, it is noticeable for the large size of the solitary flowers which are rich yellow in colour and about 20mm in diameter, whilst the scarlet fruit is nearly as large as a cherry[
]. The fruit is almost certainly edible, whilst the plant has medicinal uses.
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.
E. Asia - southwest China ( Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan)
Thickets, forests, river beaches by forest margins, grassy slopes, rocky slopes; at elevations from 2,800 - 4,300 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Berberis muliensis is a plant of warm temperate to subtropical regions of China, where it can be found at elevations up to 4,300 metres. Especially when collected from higher elevations, this species should succeed outdoors in milder regions of the temperate zone. It is reported to be able to tolerate temperatures down to at least -5°c[
Prefers a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but it is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Plants can be pruned back quite severely, they resprout well from the base[
This species is closely allied to Berberis angulosa[
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[
]. We have no data on susceptibility for this species[
Fruit - raw or cooked. The scarlet fruit is nearly as large as a cherry[
]. We have no specific information on the edibility of this species, but it is closely related to Berberis angulosa, a large-fruited species with berries that are less acid and more palatable than most barberries. This species would certainly be worth trying for palatability[
]. The The red, ovoid to oblong-ovoid fruit is 10 - 14mm long and 6 - 9mm wide[
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[
It should not be used in combination with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine[
Berberine has also shown antitumour activity[
A yellow dye is obtained from the root[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring[
]. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate[
], whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[
]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated[
]. 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. Roots in 4 - 8 weeks[
]. Pot up in spring[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, autumn in a frame[
Some forms produce suckers[