Berberidaceae Family:

Berberidaceae Juss.


The Berberidaceae Family was named and described by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789.

This family of plants is commonly referred to as the Barberry family which include trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

Plants of the World Online lists 14 accepted genera in this family which include the genera Achlys (2 species), Berberis (627 species), Bongardia (2 species), Caulophyllum (3 species), Diphyllea (3 species), Dysosma (11 species), Epimedium (69 species), Gymnospermum (11 species), Jeffersonia (1 species), Leontice (3 species), Nandina (1 species), Podophyllum (2 species), Ranzania (1 species), and Vancouveria (3 species). This is according to Plants of the World online which is still uploading data. As I was writing the list I noticed Nandina seemed a little short…

The 2013 version of The Plant List (now unmaintained) included 19 accepted genera in the family which included the genera Mahonia, Holboellia, Odostemon, Plagiorhegma, and Sinopodophyllum. It also listed the unresolved genera Cogylia, Mahoberberis, Sculeria, and Yatabea.

According to Plants of the World Online, the Mahonia genus is now a synonym of Berberis. I have met a Mahonia japonica in Leland, Mississippi and its leaves resembled a Holly (Ilex genus which is in the Aquifoliaceae Family)… I ran across an interesting page from the Missouri Botanical Garden on Mahonia japonica. It says in the 2009 revision of Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Michael Dirr declined to eliminate Mahonia as a genus by stating “I refuse to go there.” The 2013 version of The Plant List included 46 accepted species of Mahonia. Now Mahonia japonica is now Berberis japonica. Mahonia japonica was named 1821…

Plants of the World Online also only lists one accepted species of Nandina and The Plant List said there were four. When I first did research on the Nandina (because there were a lot of Nandina domestica at the mansion and I brought one with me when I moved back to Missouri) there seemed to be many more.

I planted a row of Red Barberry along the south side of grandpa’s old house in 1981 when I lived here (on the farm after grandpa died). Dad got rid of them after I moved away in 1987 because he didn’t like the thorns. He also cut down the Mugo Pine I had planted then tore down my grandparent’s old house… Oh well, time changes things.

I know nothing about the rest of the genera in this family, so, for now, I will stop writing about it.

For more information about this family of plants, please click on the links below.


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