Berberis vulgaris (central Europe to western Asia)
Habit: Shrub, 1-3 m tall and wide, initially stiffly upright, gradually arching to broadly bushy, medium to fast-growing, 40-70 cm a year, twigs densely covered with three-part thorns.
Flowers: Strong-yellow in numerous, hanging racemes with a strong smell, May.
Fruits: Elongated, ovoid berries; conspicuous orange-red to dark red, from September on, used to be cultivated as wild fruit, fruits can be used in juices, marmalades or even dried as raisins, tastes sour to sweet.
Leaves: Reverse ovoid, often reddish green when shooting, later fresh green, intense yellow-orange in autumn to bright red.
Roots: Intense and very far-reaching, deep roots with many adventitious roots, forming runners; not sensitive to mechanical injuries, covering and floods; very robust.
Demands: Sun to semi-shade, avoids deep shade; tolerates heat, likes warmth, also in cool areas, frost hardy; very low to high humidity; not sensitive to urban pollution and wind, tolerant of salt; not demanding, robust pioneer plant for extreme areas.
Soil: Dry to fresh, prefers alkaline soil, avoids acidic substrates, otherwise gravel to loam.
Hardiness: Zone 4