The ancient Egyptians used barberry to prevent the plague, and for centuries it was touted as a treatment for just about everything from cholera to diseases of the liver. Now, traditional medicine is taking an active interest in berberine, an alkaloid found in barberry plants.
Eleven rust-free Berberis thunbergii cultivars have been cleared for import to Canada:
- B.thunbergii ‘Monry' Sunsation
Compact form. Height and spread up to 120 cm; golden foliage with slight orange cast.
- B. T. ‘Monlers' Golden Nugget
Dwarf variety. Height 30 cm, spread 45 cm; golden foliage.
- B. t. ‘Rose Glow'
Fast-growing variety. Height and spread up to 150 cm; first leaves purple, new shoots burnished rose-pink and splotched with purple.
- B. t. ‘Tara' Emerald Carousel
Height and spread up to 150 cm; green foliage turns dark red to purple in fall.
B. t. ‘Aurea Nana'
Dwarf variety. Height and spread up to 90 cm; bright yellow summer foliage turns red in fall.
- B. t. ‘Royal Cloak'
Height and spread up to 150 cm; large, velvety, deep purple foliage and upright arching habit.
- B. t. ‘Concorde'
Dwarf variety. Height and spread up to 45 cm; velvety, deep purple foliage.
- B. t. ‘Bailgreen' Jade Carousel
Height 90 cm, spread 125 cm; dense, compact green foliage.
- B. t. var. atropurpurea ‘Monomb' Cherry Bomb
Height and spread up to 120 cm; deep crimson foliage.
- B. t. var. a. Gentry ‘Royal Burgundy'
Height 60 cm, spread 90 cm; beautiful reddish summer foliage turns darker in fall.
- B. t. var. a. ‘Bailone' Ruby Carousel
Height 90 cm, spread 100 cm; red foliage.