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Japanese Barberry...

 
gardener
Posts: 3197
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
361
forest garden trees urban
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I spotted this plant at a nursery.
Google has taught me that it is deer resistant,has edible berries and leaves and antibiotic roots.
It also is right up there with honeysuckle as a displacer of native undergrowth.
So , is this a decent permaculture plant or an ecological  horror waiting to happen?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1326
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
314
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
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William, I have several of them from the prior owner. I have not seen them spread. Compared to privet and multiflora they are not invasive here. Mine are some mutant gold color so could be weaker than the wild type.

Good- bird cover habitat is great, winter bird forage very good, paper wasp and mantis habitat very good. Early bee forage- have seen carpenter and masons on there. Prickly and dense.

Bad- non-native, decorative only- nothing seems to even taste them, chance they will be more invasive where you are.
 
gardener
Posts: 1971
Location: Maine, zone 5
854
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
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In Maine I've seen it fill in the understory in young forests.  Birds spread the seeds around quite effectively.  I find them popping up in my forest all the time and pull them when I find them to avoid what I've seen elsewhere.  To me there are much better plants to grow instead, but if you have them and can make some use of them then that seems like a good idea.  I've tried the fruit of B. vulgaris and liked the flavor very much, but I've never tried a Japanese barberry fruit that I enjoyed.  Maybe I just haven't run across a good one?
 
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For what it's worth: Here in eastern PA it is super invasive and grows well in well drained rocky soil from full sun to heavy shade. Supposedly there is a limes disease connection due to the plants providing habitat for white footed mice. The leaves are tasty in small amounts. I haven't tried using them for anything other than nibbling on. I don't like the berries, and I am far from picky.

I might use the plant for its vividly yellow wood in crafts.
 
William Bronson
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Posts: 3197
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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So , super invasive, spread by birds, not very tasty.

If there were a fruitless variety I would want it, but I'll pass on this plant.
Thanks every one for keeping me from bringing home a problem plant.
 
Greg Martin
gardener
Posts: 1971
Location: Maine, zone 5
854
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William, you might consider barberry's relative, Oregon Grape if you want fruit and antibiotic.  Oregon Grape also has berberine.
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