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Warty Barberry

Berberis verruculosa

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Berberidaceae (Barberry)
Semi-evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, rocky places, seaside, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Warty barberry produces clusters of small, bright yellow flowers in late spring to early summer. The blossoms, arranged in elongated racemes, exhibit delicate petals and are complemented by holly-like, evergreen foliage. The distinctive flowers, tinged with a hint of yellow-orange, add a touch of vibrancy to the shrub. Warty Barberry's inflorescence not only contributes to the plant's ornamental appeal but also attracts pollinators, such as bees, with its nectar-rich blooms. The flowering period is followed by the development of small, grape-like berries that transition from green to purplish-black, providing additional visual interest and serving as a valuable food source for wildlife in the garden.
Following the flowering period in late spring to early summer, Berberis verruculosa, also known as Warty barberry or Oregon grape, develops small, grape-like berries that undergo a color transformation from green to purplish-black. These distinctive fruits are a notable feature of the shrub, adding visual interest to the landscape. The berries, resembling miniature grapes, are borne in clusters and contribute to the overall ornamental appeal of the plant. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic value, but the berries also serve as a valuable food source for wildlife, attracting birds to the garden. The contrast between the dark-hued berries and the evergreen foliage further accentuates the plant's beauty, making it a multifaceted addition to gardens and natural landscapes alike.
The leaves of Warty barberry are characterized by their holly-like appearance and evergreen nature. These glossy, dark green leaves are pinnately compound, consisting of multiple leaflets arranged along a central vein. The leaflets are spiny-toothed, contributing to the shrub's overall deterrent effect. The foliage maintains its verdant hue throughout the year, providing year-round interest in the garden. The leaves not only serve an ornamental purpose but also contribute to the plant's resilience, as the evergreen nature ensures a consistent presence of greenery in the landscape. The juxtaposition of the spiny leaves with the bright yellow flowers and grape-like berries adds to the aesthetic diversity of Warty barberry, making it a versatile and visually appealing choice for various garden settings.
Warty barberry possesses a distinct and aromatic fragrance that contributes to its overall appeal. When in bloom, the small clusters of bright yellow flowers emit a sweet and mildly floral scent, enhancing the sensory experience in the garden. The fragrance is subtle yet pleasant, adding a delicate touch to the outdoor environment. As the flowers mature and give way to the development of grape-like berries, the aromatic notes may evolve, offering a nuanced olfactory experience. The combination of the fragrant blooms and the evergreen holly-like foliage creates an inviting atmosphere, making Warty barberry a sensory delight in gardens and landscapes across the seasons.
Other Names:
Barberry, Holly-leaved Barberry, Oregon Grape, Oregon Holly Grape, Warted Barberry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information

Berberis verruculosa, commonly known as Warty barberry or Oregon grape, is a deciduous shrub native to the Himalayan region. In the United Kingdom, it is cultivated for its ornamental value in gardens and landscapes. This versatile shrub features holly-like, evergreen foliage with spiny-toothed leaves, providing year-round interest. In late spring to early summer, it produces clusters of small, bright yellow flowers that emit a sweet fragrance. These blooms give way to grape-like berries that transition from green to purplish-black, serving as a food source for wildlife. Berberis verruculosa is adaptable to various habitats, including woodland gardens, shrub borders, and mixed borders. While its berries are technically edible, they are often processed in culinary applications due to their tartness. The plant's aesthetic appeal, resilience, and contribution to biodiversity make it a valued addition to UK gardens.


Welcome to the world of Berberis verruculosa, affectionately known as Warty Barberry or Oregon Grape. This deciduous shrub, with its holly-like foliage and distinctive features, is a gem in the realm of ornamental plants. In this blog, we'll delve into the characteristics, cultivation tips, and the unique charm that Warty Barberry brings to gardens across the United Kingdom.

1. Overview of Berberis verruculosa: Berberis verruculosa is a native of the Himalayan region, where it thrives in diverse habitats. Its adaptability to various conditions has made it a sought-after choice for gardens in the UK. The shrub typically reaches a height of 1 to 2 meters, creating a compact and visually appealing presence.

2. Holly-like foliage and Spiny Leaves: The most noticeable feature of Warty Barberry is its evergreen, holly-like foliage. The leaves are pinnately compound, adorned with spiny-toothed edges that add a layer of deterrence. This combination of features not only contributes to its ornamental value but also enhances the plant's resilience throughout the year.

3. Seasonal Highlights: Spring heralds the arrival of Warty Barberry's vibrant display. Clusters of small, bright yellow flowers grace the shrub in late spring to early summer. The subtle yet sweet fragrance they emit adds a delightful dimension to the garden. Following this floral showcase, the shrub develops grape-like berries, initially green and maturing to purplish-black, providing a visual feast and attracting wildlife.

4. Culinary and Wildlife Appeal: While the berries are technically edible, their tartness may not make them a preferred snack. However, their culinary potential shines when processed into jams, jellies, or sauces. The berries also serve as a valuable food source for birds, contributing to the biodiversity of your garden.

5. Cultivation Tips: Warty Barberry is relatively easy to cultivate, thriving in well-drained soil and adapting to various pH levels. It performs well in partial shade but can tolerate full sun. Regular pruning can help maintain its shape and control its size. Keep in mind that it's crucial to be aware of local regulations, as some regions may consider it invasive.

6. Versatility in Garden Design: Whether you're creating a woodland garden, a shrub border, or a mixed border, Warty Barberry can be a versatile addition. Its evergreen foliage ensures year-round interest, and the shrub's adaptability makes it suitable for various garden styles.

7. Conclusion: In conclusion, Berberis verruculosa, or Warty Barberry, is a versatile and visually striking shrub that can elevate the appeal of your garden. From its holly-like leaves to the fragrant blooms and colourful berries, this plant offers a multi-seasonal spectacle. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice enthusiast, consider adding the charm of Warty Barberry to your outdoor space for a touch of nature's beauty.

30 Stunning Warty Barberry Facts

  1. Himalayan Origin: Berberis verruculosa, commonly known as Warty Barberry, is native to the Himalayan region, thriving in the diverse climates of its place of origin.

  2. Botanical Nomenclature: The plant is formally classified as Berberis verruculosa but is also recognized by other names such as Oregon Grape or Mahonia verruculosa.

  3. Compact Size: Typically growing to a height of 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet), Warty Barberry is a compact shrub that fits well in various garden settings.

  4. Evergreen Foliage: One of its most striking features is the holly-like, evergreen foliage, which retains its lush green appearance throughout the year, providing visual interest in all seasons.

  5. Spiny Leaves: The leaves are pinnately compound and characterized by spiny-toothed edges, contributing to the plant's unique appearance and providing a natural deterrent.

  6. Flowering Season: In the UK, the shrub graces gardens with clusters of small, bright yellow flowers in late spring to early summer, creating a visually stunning display.

  7. Fragrant Blooms: The flowers emit a sweet and mild fragrance, adding a delightful sensory element to the garden during the blooming season.

  8. Berry Transformation: Following the floral display, Warty Barberry produces grape-like berries that transition from green to purplish-black, creating a captivating visual transformation.

  9. Wildlife Magnet: The berries are a valuable food source for birds, making Warty Barberry an attractive choice for wildlife-friendly gardens.

  10. Culinary Potential: While the berries are tart when eaten raw, they can be processed into jams, jellies, or sauces, showcasing their culinary potential in the kitchen.

  11. Adaptability: Warty Barberry is known for its adaptability to various soil types and pH levels, making it a versatile choice for gardeners with different landscapes.

  12. Partial Shade Tolerance: While it can thrive in full sun, the shrub is also well-suited to partial shade, providing flexibility in garden design.

  13. Invasive Potential: In some regions, Warty Barberry may be considered invasive, so it's important to be aware of local regulations and guidelines when planting it.

  14. Ornamental Value: The shrub's aesthetic appeal, from its glossy foliage to vibrant flowers and berries, makes it a prized ornamental addition to gardens and landscapes.

  15. Year-Round Interest: With its evergreen nature, Warty Barberry ensures year-round interest, maintaining its greenery even during the winter months.

  16. Drought Tolerance: Once established, the shrub exhibits a degree of drought tolerance, making it suitable for gardens in regions with sporadic water availability.

  17. Attractive in Winter: The dark green foliage stands out against winter landscapes, providing structure and color when many other plants are dormant.

  18. Garden Borders: Warty Barberry is often used in shrub borders, where its compact size and year-round appeal contribute to the overall structure of the garden.

  19. Rock Garden Charm: The plant's adaptability extends to rock gardens, adding texture and interest to these specialized garden environments.

  20. Coastal Resilience: It can tolerate coastal conditions, including salt spray, making it a viable choice for gardens in coastal areas.

  21. Pruning Benefits: Regular pruning helps maintain the shrub's shape and control its size, promoting a well-groomed appearance.

  22. Versatility in Design: Whether you're creating a formal garden or a more naturalistic setting, Warty Barberry's versatility makes it a suitable choice for various garden designs.

  23. Disease Resistance: The shrub exhibits resistance to many common pests and diseases, contributing to its overall hardiness.

  24. Botanical Family: Warty Barberry belongs to the Berberidaceae family, which also includes other well-known plants like the barberry (Berberis) and the mayapple (Podophyllum).

  25. Traditional Uses: In some traditional medicinal practices, certain Berberis species, including Warty Barberry, have been utilized for their purported health benefits.

  26. Symbolic Significance: In various cultures, the barberry has been associated with different symbolic meanings, including prosperity, protection, and cleansing.

  27. Global Distribution: Beyond its Himalayan origins, Warty Barberry has been introduced and cultivated in various parts of the world, adapting to diverse climates.

  28. Garden Accent: Planted as a singular specimen or in groups, Warty Barberry serves as an eye-catching accent, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the garden.

  29. Botanical Exploration: The Berberis genus has been of interest to botanists and horticulturists, leading to the discovery and cultivation of numerous species.

  30. Climate Resilience: Warty Barberry's ability to withstand different climate conditions makes it a resilient and reliable choice for gardeners seeking low-maintenance yet visually appealing plants.


Warty Barberry filmed at Fairy Glen, Parbold, Lancashire on the 6th May 2023.


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