Berberis Darwinii Compactum
Darwin’s Barberry

Berberis Darwinii Compactum

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With prickly spines and attractively serrated foliage resembling small, shiny holly leaves, Berberis darwinii compacta is a delightful, compact shrub that provides early colour. In spring, offering contrast with the dark, evergreen foliage; clusters of small, red-tinted orange flowers emerge to dangle from arching stems. Recipient of the RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit), for all round excellence in the garden.

Darwin’s Barberry is so called because the evolutionist Charles Darwin ‘found’ this Berberis in South America while part of the renowned 1835 research voyage of The Beagle. It is now known that prehistoric people living in Patagonia consumed the acidic but edible fruit.


Flowers: Dangling clusters of orange flowers from spring onwards, followed by attractive dark blue/purple berries, which are highly acidic and best avoided.

  • Moist, well drained soil
  • Full sun, partial shade
  • South, West or East facing

This low maintenance shrub needs little attention other than removing dead, diseased or damaged stems after flowering. Prune if necessary every few years. Plant in full sun to encourage fruit. Handle shrub with gloves due to spines.