(Also known as Barberry)

Berberis aristata, darwinii, thunbergii

Family: Berberidaceae

Type of weed:

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , ,


An erect spiny deciduous shrub, ranging between 2 m and 3 m in height. A distinguishing feature is the rich turmeric yellow colour of the stem under the bark.

Leaves are in clusters of five to eight, with spiny toothed edges, leathery and approximately 5 cm long and 2 cm wide. They are deep green on the top surface and light green underneath.

Flower buds are white turning yellow during spring in drooping clusters. It flowers late spring to early summer.

Bright red berries containing seed turn blue when mature.

Note: Blue Mountains City Council has nominated the three species of this weed to be declared as a Class 4 Noxious Weed within the Local Government Area.


Seed is spread by birds, foxes, water, vehicles, machinery and in soil.

Impact on bushland

The plant invades bushland forming dense thickets that prevent native species from growing.


Alternative planting

Native plants

Choose plants that are spiky and/or provide bird habitat:

  • Lambertia formosa
  • Hakea teretifolia
  • Banksia spinulosa
  • Banksia marginata
  • Leucopogen lanceolatus
  • Callistemon spp.

For plants with berries

  • Native Mulberry (Hedycarya angustifolia)
  • Blueberry Ash (Eleocarpus reticulatus)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


Specific control tips for this weed


Because the berries are spread by birds it is best to treat plants before they fruit. Alternatively, bag the fruit and treat in a hot compost to kill the seeds. Other parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the ground. When dead, the material can be left to decompose in place, or removed and placed in compost.

For more info

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.