Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) Bush Leafing Out in Spring in album plants

In Albums:plants

A dense tangle of red branches with numerous clusters of light yellow oval-shaped leaves sprouting from them

Apr 3rd, 2003, by Alex Zorach

This is a photo of a European barberry or common barberry, Berberis vulgaris. These bushes are widely used in landscaping in the U.S., where they are not native, but have escaped into wild ecosystems and become naturalized in some places. They have small prickly thorns which can be painful but are more delicate (and less likely to draw blood) than rose thorns. They grow quickly into a dense tangle of vegetation, and resprout vigorously when cut, which makes them excellent for use as a hedge.

I find this photo interesting, as it captures a brief moment in time at which this plant looks similar to a number of desert plants. Desert plants, in order to conserve water, often have more stem than leaf. Some plants also have red pigments in the stem to protect against solar radiation. This photo makes the barberry look a lot more like a desert plant, but in a few weeks, it will turn into a lush, green bush, with small leaves that are somewhat larger than in this picture, and the reddish stems will no longer be visible.