Herb: Salmon Barberry


Latin name: Berberis aggregata


Synonyms: Berberis geraldii


Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)



Medicinal use of Salmon Barberry:

Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and streamsides up to 2500 metres in Kansu and W. Szechwan.

Edible parts of Salmon Barberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A fairly acid lemony flavour, it can be eaten in quantity by those who like acid fruits - children seem particularly keen on it. A very reliable cropper, the fruit is borne in abundance along the stems. The fruit is about 7mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the root.

Propagation of Salmon Barberry:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate, whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets and streamsides up to 2500 metres in Kansu and W. Szechwan.

Known hazards of Berberis aggregata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.