- Deciduous shrub, 3-6+ ft (0.9-1.8 m), very dense, rounded form; thorny; single spines, usually 13-15 mm long. Stems angled or grooved, spines (throns) single , not parted, about 1 cm or more. Leaves alternate, but appear in clusters, simple, obovate to spatulate-oblong, small, 1.3-3.2 cm long, variable in size, narrow base, margin entire. Flowers yellowish, about 1 cm wide, on a long pedicel. Fruit small (8 mm), red, ellipsoid, persisting into winter.
- Sun to part shade, drought tolerant, very adaptable, but does not withstand extremely moist conditions.
- Many cultivars, including:
- Green, standard size, and popular dwarf forms such as:
- Lustre GreenTM (Anderson)
- Berberis Emerald CarouselTM grows to about 5 ft (1.5 m), it is from a cross between B. thunbergii and B. koreana
- Yellowish-green ("golden") types include:
- Variegated forms:
- Silver Beauty (Argenteo-marginata).
- Purple or red leaf forms are classified as Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea .
- Hardy to USDA Zone 4   Native to Japan.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: south side of parking lot south of Bates, many on campus.