Response of Japanese Barberry to Varying Degrees of Defoliation

Dirk Vanderklein, Anthony Cullen, Jean Edson Belcourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Until recently, it was thought that Berberis thunbergii (Japanese Barberry), a non-native invasive plant that has become particularly widespread in certain regions of New Jersey, benefited from a lack of herbivorous defoliators. However, in 2007 extensive defoliation was documented across a wide geographical distribution in New Jersey, calling this assumption into question. We tested whether Japanese Barberry was negatively affected by partial defoliation by manually clipping 50% or 100% of leaves on current-year stems on small and large plants in the summer of 2008. We found almost no impact of defoliation on growth, carbon storage, or leaf-level physiology for either treatment. We noted some differences between large and small plants, but these were not related to defoliation treatments. Our results suggest that, even in the presence of herbivory, Japanese Barberry is capable of maintaining growth and carbon reserves, thus making it an effective competitor for resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-261
Number of pages14
JournalNortheastern Naturalist
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


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