- Major entries:
- Berberis aquifolium Pursh. Mahonia. Mountain Grape. Oregon Grape.
- Berberis buxifolia Lam. Magellan Barberry.
- Berberis vulgaris Linn. Barberry. Jaundice Berry. Piprage.
Berberis angulosa Wall. Berberideae. Barberry.
India. This is a rare Himalayan species with the largest flowers and fruit of any of the thirteen species found on that range. In Sikkim, it is a shrub four or more feet in height, growing at an elevation of from 11,000 to 13,000 feet, where it forms a striking object in autumn from the rich golden and red coloring of its foliage. The fruit is edible and less acid than that of the common species.
Western North America. This shrub is not rare in cultivation as an ornamental. It has deep blue berries in clusters somewhat resembling the frost grape and the flavor is strongly acid. The berries are used as food, and the juice when fermented makes, on the addition of sugar, a palatable and wholesome wine. It is said not to have much value as a fruit. It is common in Utah and its fruit is eaten, being highly prized for its medicinal properties. The acid berry is made into confections and eaten as an antiscorbutic, under the name mountain grape.
Berberis aristata DC. Nepal Barberry.
East Indies. The Nepal barberry produces purple fruits covered with a fine bloom, which in India are dried in the sun like raisins and used like them at the dessert. It is native to the mountains of Hindustan and is called in Arabic aarghees. The plants are quite hardy and fruit abundantly in English gardens. Downing cultivated it in America but it gave him no fruit. In Nepal, the berries are dried by the Hill People and are sent down as raisins to the plains.
Berberis asiatica Roxb. Asiatic Barberry.
Region of Himalayas. According to Lindley, the fruit is round, covered with a thick bloom and has the appearance of the finest raisins. The berries are eaten in India. The plants are quite hardy and fruit abundantly in English gardens.
This evergreen shrub is found native from Chile to the Strait of Magellan. According to Dr. Philippi, it is the best of the South American species; the berries are quite large, black, hardly acid and but slightly astringent. The fruit, says Sweet, is used in England both green and ripe as are gooseberries, for making pies and tarts. In Valdivia and Chiloe, provinces of Chile, they are frequently consumed. It has ripened fruit at Edinburgh, and Mr. Cunningham enthusiastically says it is as large as the Hamburg grape and equally good to eat. It is also grown in the gardens of the Horticultural Society, London, from which cions appear to have been distributed. Under the name Black Sweet Magellan, it is noticed as a variety in Downing. It was introduced into England about 1828.
Berberis canadensis Pursh. American Barberry.
North America; a species found in the Alleghenies of Virginia and southward but not in Canada. The berries are red and of an agreeable acidity.
Berberis darwinii Hook. Darwin's Barberry.
Chile and Patagonia. In Devonshire, England, the cottagers preserve the berries when ripe, and a party of school children admitted to where there are plants in fruit will clear the bushes of every berry as eagerly as if they were black currants.
Berberis empetrifolia Lam. Fuegian Barberry.
Region of Magellan Strait. The berry is edible.
Berberis glauca DC.
New Granada. The berry is edible.
Berberis lycium Royle. Indian Barberry.
Himalayan region. In China, the fruit is preserved as in Europe, and the young shoots and leaves are made use of as a vegetable or for infusion as a tea.
Berberis nepalensis Spreng. Mahonia.
An evergreen of the Himalayas. The fruits are dried as raisins in the sun and sent down to the plains of India for sale.
Berberis nervosa Pursh. Oregon Grape.
Northwestern America; pine forests of Oregon. The fruit resembles in size and taste that of B. aquifolium.
Berberis pinnata Lag. Blue Barberry.
Mexico; a beautiful, blue-berried barberry very common in New Mexico. It is called by the Mexicans lena amorilla. The berries are very pleasant to the taste, being saccharine with a slight acidity.
Berberis sibirica Pall. Siberian Barberry.
Siberia. The berry is edible.
Berberis sinensis Desf.
China. The berry is edible.
Berberis tomentosa Ruiz & Pav. Hairy Barberry.
Chile. The berry is edible.
Berberis trifoliolata Moric.
Western Texas. The bright red, acid berries are used for tarts and are less acid than those of B. vulgaris
Europe and temperate Asia. This barberry is sometimes planted in gardens in England for its fruit. It was early introduced into the gardens of New England and increased so rapidly that in 1754 the Province of Massachusetts passed an act to prevent its spreading. The berries are preserved in sugar, in syrup, or candied and are esteemed by some. They are also occasionally pickled in vinegar, or used for flavoring. There are varieties with yellow, white, purple, and black fruits. A celebrated preserve is made from a stoneless variety at Rouen, France. The leaves were formerly used to season meat in England. The berries are imported from Afghanistan into India under the name of currant. A black variety was found by Tournefort on the bank of the Euphrates, the fruit of which is said to be of delicious flavor.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.