BARBERRY, Berberis, a genus of plants, of the natural order ber berideee (q.v.). 11 i the species, which are numerous, and found in temperate climates parts of the world except Australia, are shrubs with yellow flowers, having a calyx leaves, a corolla of six petals, and six stamens, which, when touched at the base, display a con siderable degree of irritability, starting up from their ordinary position of recliningupon the petals, and closing upon the pistil apparently a provision to secure fecundation. The fruit is a berry with two or three seeds. Not a few of the species are evergreen. They are divided Into two sub-genera, sometimes ranked as genera; those with simple leaves forming the sub-genus berberis, and those with pinnate leaves the sub-genus m i ahonia, or ash-leaved B.—The common 13. (11. vulgaris) is a native of most of the tem perate parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. It produces its flowers and fruit in pendulous racemes; has obovate, slightly serrate, deciduous leaves; and numerous straight three-forked spines. It is a very ornamental shrub, .especially when covered with fruit. Its berries are of an elongate oval form; when ripe, generally of a bright red color, more rarely whitish, yellow, or almost black. They contain free maim acid. The fruit of the ordinary varieties is too acid to be eaten, but makes excellent preserves and jelly. Malic acid (q.v.) is pretty extensively prepared from it in France. A yellow fungus, aecidium berberidis, is very general upon the under-side • of the leaves of the B.; and a notion prevails that it produces rust in corn, which is erroneous, the rust (q.v.) of corn being a totally different fungus, which, like this, is apt to appear in humid weather. The prevalence of this notion, however, appears to have prevented the general employ ment of the B. as a hedge-plant, for which it is admirably adapted, hedges made of it being easily kept free from gaps, and becoming more and more impervious by new shoots thrown up from tire root. The yellow root of the B. is used for dyeing yellow, and espe
cially the inner bark of it, and also of tire stem and branches. The bark is capable of being employed for tanning leather. In like mariner, B. glauea, B. ilieifolirt, B. town tosa, and B. lutea are used for dyeing in Chili and Peru; B. tinetoria by the inhabitants of the Neilgherry hills, and B. aristata in Nepaul; and a strong similarity of properties appears to pervade the whole genus. B. lyeium, a native of the n. of India, is charac terized by great astringency, and an extract prepared from it is valuable in ophthalmia. Most of the species are more or less spiny, and some of the evergreen species might be very ornamentally employed for hedge-plants; as B. duleis, now frequent in shrubberies in Wiwi!). This species, sometimes called the sweet B., is a native of the s.w. coast of America. Its leaves much resemble those of the common B.; it has solitary flowers on rather long stalks. and globose black berries about the size of a common black currant. The fruit is produced very copiously in Britain. is quite sweet when fully ripe, and makes excellent jelly. When unripe and very acid, it is used for tarts. Pleasant fruits are produced also by B. aristata and 13. Asiatiea, the berries of both of which are dried in ISepaul, after the manner of raisins; B. coat:tuna, also a Himalayan species; B. micro hylla, found in the southern parts of South America; and B. trifoliata, found in lexico. Those of some of the other species are either disagreeable or insipid, which is particularly the case with most of the ash-leaved barberries, natives of North America and the a. of India.—Niunerous species of B., both from the Himalaya and South America, are daily becoming more frequent in Britain as ornamental shrubs.