A yellow dye is obtained from the root and bark.
Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate, whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Pot up in the spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame.
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Prefers a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but it is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Closely related to B. tsangpoensis. Plants can be pruned back quite severely, they resprout well from the base.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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