Berberis julianae

Berberis julianae C.K. Schneider (China) – A very rare escape from cultivation. Probably first recorded in 2003 on the stony bank of a canal in the city of Kortrijk. Subsequently found near Antwerpen (nature reserve Wolvenberg in Berchem) and on the old city walls of Menen (along with Berberis gagnepainii), represented each time by a single specimen. However, recorded in relative abundance since 2005 from a railway bank in Roeselare, birdsown under planted shrubs (along with Berberis aquifolium and Prunus laurocerasus). Here obviously becoming naturalised. Also elsewhere increasing in the past years, sometimes in rather natural and/or remote areas (for instance in Kennedybos near Kortrijk). Similar records are available, for instance, from Germany (especially from climatologically favourable habitats; see Adolphi 1995). In South Africa it has been concluded that B. julianae should be monitored (Keet & al. 2016).

Plants in cultivation of Berberis julianae are coarser and taller (larger leaves, longer thorns,…) compared to native populations (see also Chamberlain & Maxwell 1989). It is unclear if cultivated plants represent a distinct (hybridogenous?) taxon or merely an “improved” selection.

 Menen, city walls, 03.2010 Filip Verloove

Berberis julianae leaves

Berberis julianae, Roeselare, talus slope of railway track, April 2011, F. Verloove

Herbarium specimen

Selected literature

Adolphi K. (1995) Neophytische Kultur- und Anbaupflanzen als Kulturflüchtlinge des Rheinlandes. Nardus 2: 272 p.

Adolphi K. (1997) Neophytische Kultur- und Anbaupflanzen als Kulturflüchtlinge des Rheinlandes, 1. Nachtrag. Osnabr. Naturwiss. Mitt. 23: 27-36.

Adolphi K. (2001) In jüngster Zeit entdeckte Neophyten und Überlegungen über ihre mögliche Einbürgerung. Braunschweiger Geobotanische Arbeiten 8: 15-25.

Chamberlain D.F. & Maxwell H.S. (1989) Berberis. In: Walters S.M. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 3. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 373-389.

Keet J-H., Cindi D. & du Preez P.J. (2016) Assessing the invasiveness of Berberis aristata and B. julianae (Berberidaceae) in South Africa: Management options and legal recommendations. South African Journal of Botany 105: 288-298. [available online at:  

Kowarik I. (1992) Einführung und Ausbreitung nichteinheimischer Gehölzarten in Berlin und Brandenburg. Verh. Bot. Ver. Berlin Brandenburg, Beiheft 3: 188 p.

Schmid M. (2005) Untersuchung zur neophytischen Gehölzflora im Stuttgarter Stadtgebiet. Jh. Ges. Naturkde. Württemberg 161: 178-257.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith