A shrub. Leaves. - Oblong, toothed, in clusters from the axil of a thorn. Flowers. - Yellow, in drooping racemes. Calyx. - Of six sepals, with from two to six bractlets without. Corolla. - Of six petals. Stamens. - Six. Pistil. - One. Fruit. - An oblong scarlet berry.
This European shrub has now become thoroughly wild and very plentiful in parts of New England. The drooping yellow flowers of May and June are less noticeable than the oblong clustered berries of September, which light up so many overgrown lanes, and often decorate our lawns and gardens as well.
The ancients extracted a yellow hair-dye from the barberry; and to-day it is used to impart a yellow color to wool. Both its common and botanical names are of Arabic origin.