Several of the species and varieties of the barberry have long been used in Europe, Asia, and to some extent in America for combined use for ornamental planting, hedges, and varied uses of the fruit. The jelly and marmalade made from the heavy crops of fruit are preferred in Europe and Asia for dessert use to that of the currant, and they are extensively used in sick-rooms and hospitals as a cooling anti-febrile food for patients. A seedless variety is also used in Europe for stewing, which is preferred by many to the currant, and it is claimed that its acid is very similar to the lemon in its physiological effects on the system. For combined use, as a hedge-plant or screen and for jelly-making and marmalade, the Amur species (Berberis Amurensis) is best for the Northwest and over a large part of the country. So far as observed, this species is free from the attacks of the cluster-cup fungus. This species also seems to reproduce itself from the seed, which is not true of many recognized species, which we have found to give many extreme variations of the seedlings. In Southern climates the large-leaved species from Japan, known as Berberis Bealii, will prove valuable for ornament and fruit. This is classed with the Mahonias, but its seedlings seem to class it as a hybrid. For low ornamental hedges requiring little pruning, and as single specimens on the lawn, Berberis Thun-bergia has no superior, but its brilliant red fruits have not enough acid for jelly or marmalade.
It is propagated usually from suckers that spring up around the crown for neighborhood use. If the shoots are well twisted (53. Spring Layering) it can also be propagated by spring layering. But the Amurensis and Thunbergia species will vary little when grown from seed, which germinates readily if stratified for spring planting. But special varieties, such as the seedless, must be propagated by suckers, layers, or cuttings of the young wood, like the hardy hydrangia (62. Immature-growth Cuttings).