This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Wild Gooseberries (Ribes Grossularia) are frequent in many parts of Switzerland, particularly by roadsides and stony, bushy places in sub-alpine valleys. The berries are usually small and yellowish when ripe, generally glabrous in the mountains, but often covered with stiff glandular hairs in the lowlands.
One of the commonest and most picturesque of the bushes bearing berries is the Barberry (Berberis vulgaris). It is a glabrous shrub, six or eight feet in height, with yellow wood like others of its family. The branches are armed with three-lobed thorns at the base of the tufts of leaves. The yellow flowers, in elegant drooping racemes, appear in May or June. The berries are oblong and very acid, green at first, then golden and finally bright red. In a single walk such as that spoken of above, from Martigny over the Col de la Forclaz (nearly 5000 ft.) down the steep escarpment to Trient, round the Tete Noir and down to Chatelard on the French frontier the fruit of the Barberry can be seen early in August in every shade of green, yellow and red, according to the altitude. In the hot slopes above Martigny it will be already crimson, while nearer the Forclaz the young fruit is still in its tender green stage. Similar transformations can, of course, be seen in walking from the Rhone Valley up any of the beautiful valleys to the south leading into the heart of the Pennine Chain.