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Mrs Wilson's Barberry

Berberis wilsoniae

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Berberidaceae (Barberry)
Semi-evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
180 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, hedgerows, sand dunes, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Clusters of yellow flowers. Possibly could be confused with Darwin's Barberry (Berberis darwinii) but that has orange flowers. Pollinated by insects.
Small red berries. The berries appear from August to November.
Mrs Wilson's Barberry is a very spiny shrub with arching branches. The leaves are narrow and pear-shaped. They are silvery green at first but by autumn the leaves have matured into a shade of red or deep crimson. Within the British Isles, it is fairly unusual to see this shrub growing wild.
Other Names:
Wilson's Barberry.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Berberis wilsoniae, also known as Wilson's barberry, is a species of flowering plant that is native to China. It is a member of the barberry family and is known for its small, yellow flowers and spiny, evergreen leaves. Berberis wilsoniae is an ornamental plant that is commonly grown in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. It is a slow-growing shrub that can reach heights of up to 2 meters (6 feet) and has a dense, upright growth habit. The leaves of Berberis wilsoniae are oblong in shape and are a glossy, dark green color. The plant produces small, yellow flowers that are followed by small, purple or black berries. Berberis wilsoniae is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, making it a popular choice for gardeners in many different climates.


Mrs Wilson's Barberry, Berberis wilsoniae, is a species of barberry plant native to China. It is named after the British botanist E. H. Wilson, who collected the plant during his expeditions to China in the early 20th century. This plant is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall, with slender branches and bright green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.

One of the standout features of Mrs Wilson's Barberry is its bright red berries, which are produced in clusters along the branches. These berries are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they are also edible and can be used to make jams, syrups, and other culinary creations. The plant is also a great source of food for birds, making it an important plant for wildlife gardens and bird-friendly landscapes.

Aside from its ornamental and culinary uses, Mrs Wilson's Barberry has a number of health benefits. The plant contains high levels of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help support the immune system and protect against chronic diseases. Some traditional medicinal practices also use barberry as a natural remedy for digestive issues, skin problems, and other health concerns.

When it comes to growing Mrs Wilson's Barberry, the plant is low maintenance and easy to care for. It prefers well-drained soils and partial to full sun exposure, and is hardy in USDA zones 5-8. It can be pruned to control its size and shape, and can also be used in hedgerows, as a foundation plant, or as an accent in mixed borders.

Overall, Mrs Wilson's Barberry is a versatile and attractive plant that offers a range of benefits, from its stunning foliage and fruit, to its culinary and medicinal uses. Whether you're a gardener, a cook, or simply appreciate the beauty of plants, Mrs Wilson's Barberry is definitely worth considering for your next garden project.

Berberis wilsoniae, commonly known as Mrs Wilson's Barberry, is also used in traditional Chinese medicine for its various health benefits. The plant has been used to treat fever, digestive problems, and skin infections, and its anti-inflammatory properties are believed to be effective for treating joint pain and other inflammatory conditions.

The plant is also valued for its natural insecticidal and fungicidal properties, making it a great choice for an organic garden. By planting Mrs Wilson's Barberry in your garden, you can help reduce the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and provide a healthy and safe environment for your plants and wildlife.

Another benefit of Mrs Wilson's Barberry is its resistance to deer and other herbivores, making it a great choice for gardens in areas where deer are a problem. The plant's tough and spiny branches provide a natural barrier that deer and other animals are not likely to eat, preserving the beauty and health of your garden.

Additionally, Berberis wilsoniae is a great option for gardeners who want to create a unique and attractive landscape. Its attractive foliage, colorful berries, and ability to tolerate a range of soils and growing conditions make it an ideal plant for use in a variety of garden styles, including Asian-inspired gardens, wildlife gardens, and traditional English gardens.

The plant's bright red berries are also a great source of food for birds and other wildlife during the winter months, making it an important part of the food chain in many ecosystems. By planting Mrs Wilson's Barberry, you can help provide critical food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including songbirds, squirrels, and other small mammals.

When it comes to propagation, Mrs Wilson's Barberry can be propagated from cuttings, root division, or seeds. Cuttings are the easiest and quickest method, and can be taken from healthy stems in the late summer or early fall. Simply cut a 4-6 inch stem from the parent plant and plant it in a well-drained soil mixture. Keep the cutting moist and protected from direct sunlight until it establishes roots, which typically takes 2-3 weeks.

Overall, Mrs Wilson's Barberry is a versatile, low-maintenance, and attractive plant that offers a range of benefits for gardeners, wildlife, and the environment. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this plant is definitely worth considering for your next garden project.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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