Herb: Allegheny Barberry


Latin name: Berberis canadensis


Synonyms: Berberis angulizans


Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)



Medicinal use of Allegheny 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. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of fevers and diarrhoea.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
180 cm
(6 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Banks of streams and dry woods. In woods or glades, on rocky slopes and near rivers at elevations of 100 - 700 metres.

Edible parts of Allegheny Barberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Agreeably acid, they are an acceptable raw fruit in small quantities but are more commonly used in preserves. The fruits are about 9mm long. Leaves - raw. A trailside nibble. Flowers. No more details.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the root.

Propagation of Allegheny 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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Banks of streams and dry woods. In woods or glades, on rocky slopes and near rivers at elevations of 100 - 700 metres.

Known hazards of Berberis canadensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.