Information about: Barberry

Index | Barberry

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Barberry. A genus of shrubs, the common barberry having bunches of small, beautiful red berries, somewhat oval; serrated and pointed leaves; thorns, three to seven together, upon the branches, and hanging clusters of yellow flowers. The berries nearly approach the tamarind in respect of acidity, and when boiled with sugar make an agreeable preserve, rob, or jelly. They are also used as a dry sweetmeat, and in sugar­plums or comfits; they are pickled with vinegar, and are used for the garnishing of dishes. The bark is said to have medicinal properties, and the inner bark and roots with alum yield a fine yellow dye. The shrub was originally a native of eastern countries, but is now generally diffused in Europe, as also in North America. In England it has been almost universally banished from hedgerows, from the belief that it causes rust on grain - a supposition supported by the fact that it carries on its leaves a yellow fungus, the "aecidium stage" of the common grain rust. Numerous other species belong to Asia and America.