Jun. 23, 2017

American barberry, Berberis canadensis

To those of us familiar with Japanese barberry, this native species is a bit of a surprise. It was once a common shrub. People ate the tasty berries, and used the bark for medicine. But the government has been working to eradicate this plant, and all its Berberis relatives. Have you tried to buy Japanese barberry? Or seen it planted around a house built in the last half century? Barberries are host to wheat stem fungus, one of the most serious threats to our wheat crop. This image is thanks to the garden at Michigan Agricultural College, where I have to believe it was grown as an example of what not to do. American barberry has grown in AL, GA, IL(E), IN(E), KY(E), MD(X), MO, NC, PA(X), SC, TN(SC), VA, and WV. Beal Gardens, Michigan State University, 5/27/14.