Barberry, Berberis vulgaris, is a plant of hedge and windbreaks. Edible red fruit used in Europe to make jams, jellies and syrups. The roots contain potent amounts of the alkaloid berberine, which has a strong antimicrobial action. A yellow dye is obtained from the roots. In the 17th century the ashes of the shrub were mixed with water and used to turn hair yellow. Barberry is native to Europe. It prefers rocky, well-drained moist soils in a cool, protected, part-shaded position. Produces clusters of small yellow flowers in spring and summer. Frost resistant but drought tender. A deciduous shrub, growing to 3m x 1.5m.