One of the signs of autumn is the Berberis bushes changing. What fascinates me is the variation in colour. On some branches the berries have already turned red. On other branches the leaves have turned red but the berries are still yellow. Many branches are still green.
“The berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavour; the thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places they are not widely consumed. They are an important food for many small birds.” (So do birds not have problems with the thorns?)
Reading the Wikipedia article I was sort of amused by the comment that Berberis is a popular garden bush not only because of its colours, but also valued as crime prevention: “being very dense, viciously spiny shrubs, they make very effective barriers impenetrable to burglars. For this reason they are often planted below potentially vulnerable windows, and used as hedges and other barriers”. (True I suppose but goes a bit beyond the “usual” kind of facts one expects to find.)
We had a hedge of these bushes at one the houses we lived in when I grew up.