Invasive SpeciesJapanese barberry

Berberis thunbergii
FOUND by DataTrooper
Cape Elizabeth
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by manyeyes
Peer reviewed by vitalsleuth
Field Notes
I've been keeping a seasonal eye on the Japanese barberry in my yard. I missed documenting its brilliant red foliage, but have captured here its prolific red berries, its few remaining leaves, and its intimidating barbs. The multiflora rose is still green and growing strong right up through the middle of this bush. So be it. Its prickly invasive versus prickly invasive in this small corner of the world.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
I know this is Japanese barberry because it has small, clumped, oval leaves that turn bright red in the fall. If you look closely in the photo, you can see two sharp thorns along the woody stem.
Photo of my evidence.
Check out these berries. Bright red, hard, oval, and each a bit bigger than pea-sized. Check out the tangled twists of thorny branches.
Photo of my evidence.
This is a very wise defensive strategy. These thorns were on average a bit less than 1 cm long.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Berberis thunbergii
Common name:
Japanese barberry
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.567796 °
W -70.223876 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
Richmond Terrace
Trip date: 
Tue, 2009-11-24 10:00
Town or city: 
Cape Elizabeth
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey


We thought your pictures were very clear and did a good job of showing your species. The descriptions had good details. Nice job!

You guys did a great job on this invasive specie.

Great description it was very informational/ radical. Your pics were ok but a little blurry.

Thanks for the compliments. I'm no photo pro, I just like to take pictures of different things (thorns and other tiny features are starting to be a favorite!). I practice a lot with an old clunky camera. It helps to have a place like this website to post photos. They look better online and it lets me explain what's in them and why I took them.

What tiny things are growing in your backyard?

I thought your information was really great and im sorry about my previous comment that may of been offensive to your photo's. I wasn't thinking and it was a foolish thing to do.

I agree with Purplebananas. These photos are great quality. Almost like it was done by a professional photographer. Your facts are well organized. It sounded like you knew it well. Keep up the great work!

These pictures you have taken are phenomenal. They are very clear and explain themselves. I appreciate your work in finding this plant in your own back yard. It gives other observers hope in trying to find invasive species in their own back yard!

Hey, I think I have that growing in my yard too and never knew what it was. Its funny how some plants are much easier to identify in the fall and winter once the leaves are out of the picture. Stems and thorns and berries are great characteristics to hunt for (with lots of warm layers on of course).

Thanks for the identification tips and alerting me to an invasive species growing in my yard miles away from yours!