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Golden Barberry

Berberis stenophylla

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)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
3 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, roadsides.

Yellow, 6 petals
Clusters of small golden yellow flowers. Insect pollinated.
Bluish-black berries. Its seeds ripen in August and September
A spiny evergreen shrub whose leaves are simple, narrow and spiny-toothed. The branches are arching. The leaves are mid-green and alternate along its branches. Each leaf measures about 2cm in length. Commonly planted in gardens but sometimes self seeds into the wild (UK).
Other Names:
Hedge Barberry, Narrowleaf Barberry, Slimleaf Barberry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Berberis stenophylla, also known as slimleaf barberry or narrowleaf barberry, is a species of flowering plant that is native to Asia. It is a member of the barberry family and is known for its small, yellow flowers and spiny, evergreen leaves. Berberis stenophylla 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 stenophylla are narrow and elongated 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 stenophylla is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, making it a popular choice for gardeners in many different climates.


Golden barberry (Berberis stenophylla) is a shrub that is prized for its bright yellow leaves and small, yellow flowers. This plant is native to Central Asia and has been widely cultivated in Europe and North America for its ornamental value.

Golden barberry is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soils and environments. It prefers full sun or partial shade and can tolerate drought conditions. It is often grown as a hedge or screen due to its dense, compact growth habit.

One of the most striking features of this plant is its leaves. They are a bright, yellow-green color and are oblong in shape. In the spring and summer, the plant produces small, yellow flowers that grow in clusters. These flowers are followed by small, red berries that are popular with birds.

Golden barberry is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. It is drought-tolerant once established and does not require frequent pruning. It is also relatively pest-resistant, although it may be prone to scale insects.

In addition to its ornamental value, golden barberry has a number of medicinal uses. The berries contain high levels of vitamin C and are used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, fever, and sore throat.

Golden barberry is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of landscaping situations. Its compact size and dense growth habit make it ideal for use as a border plant or as a focal point in a mixed border. It can also be grown in containers or as a low hedge.

One of the benefits of growing golden barberry is its ability to adapt to a range of soils. It will grow well in both fertile and poor soils, as long as they are well-drained. It is also relatively salt-tolerant, making it a good choice for coastal gardens.

Another benefit of this plant is its attractive appearance throughout the year. Its bright yellow leaves provide a pop of color even in the winter months, making it a valuable addition to gardens that struggle to maintain interest during the off-season.

Golden barberry is a hardy plant that is resistant to most diseases and pests. It is also deer-resistant, making it a good choice for gardens located in areas where deer are a problem.

When it comes to planting and caring for golden barberry, it is important to provide the plant with adequate sunlight and moisture. It should be watered regularly until established, and then it can be left to grow on its own. Pruning is not necessary, but can be done if desired to maintain the plant's shape.

Golden barberry is also used in traditional medicine in some cultures. The bark, leaves, and berries contain alkaloids that are believed to have medicinal properties. In Iran, the plant is used to treat a range of ailments, including digestive problems, fevers, and sore throat. It is also used as a diuretic, a mild laxative, and to improve eyesight.

The berries of the golden barberry are edible, but they have a tart flavor that is not to everyone's taste. They are often used to make jams, syrups, and teas. In some parts of the world, the berries are also used to flavor meats, such as chicken or beef.

The wood of the golden barberry is also used for various purposes. It is a hard, dense wood that is used to make walking sticks, tool handles, and other small items. It is also sometimes used for firewood, as it burns hot and produces a bright, hot fire.

In cultivation, golden barberry is propagated through softwood cuttings or by seed. Cuttings are taken in the spring or early summer, while seeds are sown in the fall or spring. The plant is relatively easy to grow and is suitable for gardens of all sizes.

In conclusion, golden barberry is a valuable plant that has a number of uses. Its bright yellow leaves, small yellow flowers, and low maintenance requirements make it a great choice for gardeners of all levels. Its versatility, disease resistance, and attractive appearance make it a must-have for any garden. Its use in traditional medicine and the wood of the plant make it a valuable resource for those who live in areas where it grows.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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