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A deciduous shrub to about 3 m tall with slender, spiny shoots, small, rounded leaves and clusters of small, yellow flowers followed by small, red fruits. Berberis vulgaris is widely distributed throughout Europe and western Asia. In cultivation it is popular as a small hedge and cultivars with reddish and variegated leaves are commonly seen. Even though the plant is poisonous, the small fruits are edible and traditionally used to make jams or dried like raisins and used mostly as a spice. After soaking and sowing, seeds need cold stratification at around 4°C for at least 6 weeks.