Berberis thunbergii – Japanese Barberry

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Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is an invasive plant with edible and medicinal berries that persist through the winter.
Japanese barberries can be found in forest clearings and overgrown fields. In the spring, the plant produces edible small leaves that are accompanied by a single spine. The plant has yellow flowers in the spring which become red berries in the fall.
Berries have a mealy texture and sour taste. Berries can be dried and added to desserts or rice dishes, used to flavor drinks, or turned into jams.
The barberry plant can be used medicinally for its antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergy properties. The plant has also been used in the treatment of cancer, Lyme Disease, and UTI’s. The roots are high in berberine. Berries are rich in vitamin C and malic acid.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.


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