Berberis glaucocarpa


Family: Berberidaceae

Origin: Himalayas

Close up of barberry leaves with barbed pointy edges.
Barberry stems are tough and have yellowish-grey bark and very sharp spines.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Evergreen or semi-deciduous spiny shrub < 7 m tall. Leaves are leathery, < 75 x 25 mm, and often turn reddish in autumn. Flowers are yellow and are borne in <6cm long clusters in October – November. Berries are oval, red/black, and are borne in March – May.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell barberry within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant barberry within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any barberry on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Disturbed forest and scrubland, tussock land, bare and stony land, cliffs, coastal areas, riparian areas, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by birds, water, soil movement and possibly possums.

Impact on environment

Replaces pasture species, reducing grazing area and impeding livestock movement. Can displace native species in open habitats.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water.

Safety notes

Plant has thorns.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A barberry tree with branches crawling everywhere and bunches of seeds.
An evergreen shrub that can grow to be 7m high.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Close up of barberry branches with seeds.
Barberry shrubs have oval, reddish-black berries.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Close up of a stalk of yellow flowers on a barberry tree.
The leaves are leathery with serrated edges.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A thorny branch with leaves and bunches of barberry flowers.
Barberry form clusters of yellow flowers.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Branches of barberry shrub with sharp spines.
It tolerates hot to cool temperatures.
Established barberry shrub forming a thick bush.
Barberry can replace native species.