Hazard Information

Route: Skin/Ingestion     Plant Part: Berries, Spines, Stems

Scale: Low

Some varieties berries can cause mild poisoning.

Handling the wooden stems can induce vomiting and diarrhoea. Spines are sharp and dangerous.



Common Name(s)


Latin Name



A shrub which can grow to about 3 metres (10 feet) tall. The leaves are glossy and green, similar in shape to holly, turning a reddish shade in autumn. Beneath each cluster of leaves is a group of spines which are quite sharp. The flowers are yellow varying to orange or red in cultivated varieties which grow in small clusters. Orange or reddish berries appear in late summer.


The berries of wild barberry are not poisonous, but some cultivated varieties can cause mild poisoning. The spines are very sharp and if handling much care should be taken.


Vomiting and diarrhoea can occur even if handling the wood stems.

Flowering Period

Late spring/summer. Berries appearing in late summer.


Hedgerows or scrubland. Gardens for the cultivated varieties.