General description

Evergreen or semi-deciduous spiny shrub < 7 m tall. Leaves are leathery, < 75 x 25 mm, and often turn reddish in autumn. Flowers are yellow and are borne in <6cm long clusters in October – November. Berries are oval, red/black, and are borne in March – May.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell barberry within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant barberry within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any barberry on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Disturbed forest and scrubland, tussockland, bare and stony land, cliffs, coastal areas, riparian areas, wasteland.

Seeds dispersed by birds, water, soil movement and possibly possums.

Replaces pasture species, reducing grazing area and impeding livestock movement. Can displace native species in open habitats.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water

Safety notes

Plant has thorns.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Lycium ferocissimum

Boxthorn is a taller shrub with oblong leaves, white-mauve flowers and orange-red berries.

Crataegus monogyna

Hawthorn is a taller tree with multi-lobed triangular leaves, white-pink flowers and crimson berries.

Search tags

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Barberry - Main species image