Berberis is a large genus of just under 600 species of evergreen and deciduous spiny shrubs, commonly referred to as Barberry. They are found throughout the Northern hemisphere as well as tropical Africa and South America. Barberries are mainly cultivated for their colourful autumn foliage and fruit. Large species can be used for hedging and specimen plants, and dwarf varieties are suitable for rock gardens. All parts of Berberis are toxic if ingested and the spines can cause skin irritation. Many plants once known as Mahonia have recently been reclassified and are now included in this genus. These plants are often still bred and sold separately.