Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’

11 Apr

Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea' flower (05/04/2011, London)

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ flower (05/04/2011, London)

Position: Full sun but will tolerate partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 2.5m

Eventual Spread: 3m

Hardiness: Zone 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Berberidaceae

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ is a deciduous shrub with a dense arching habit. It bears reddish purple obovate and entire leaves on spined branches. The inflorescence is in the form of umbel like racemes of two to five, rarely solitary red tinged pale yellow flowers. These are followed by ellipsoid, glossy red fruit.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’, commonly known as the Japanese barberry, is native to Japan and some of eastern Asia. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant. All parts of the plant will cause mild stomach upset if ingested.

The etymological root of the binomial name Berberis is Latinised from the Arabic برباريس,. Thunbergii is named after the 19th century Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg. ‘Atropurpurea’ is also derived from the Latin, ‘atrox’ meaning very or fiercely and ‘purpurea’ meaning purple.

Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea' (05/04/2011, London)

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ (05/04/2011, London)

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ is useful to the landscape architect as an excellent hedge despite its deciduous nature. With its low maintenance and barbed shoots it is very well suited to barrier planting or screening in large schemes.

Ecologically, Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ will attract pollinating insects with its nectar and pollen and birds with its fruit.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’ requires little to no care. The removal of dead or damaged material  should be removed in February. An informal hedge of this plant should be trimmed after the plant has finished flowering.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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