The Barberry Eradication Program in Minnesota for Stem Rust Control: A Case Study

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2018 Aug 25;56:203-223. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080417-050133. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


The Barberry Eradication Program was an unprecedented federal and state cooperative plant disease control campaign between 1918 and the late 1970s to remove common barberry ( Berberis vulgaris), the alternate host of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, from the major centers of wheat production in the United States. Eradication of barberry has been credited with helping to reduce stem rust of wheat to a minor problem in the United States by the end of the campaign. The Barberry Eradication Program has also been viewed as a model for successful eradication based on its robust leadership, effective publicity and public cooperation, forceful quarantine laws, and adaptive eradication methods and procedures employed in its field operations. The Barberry Eradication Program was particularly successful because of its leaders' ability to adapt to changing internal and external conditions over time. The program lasted nearly a century, extending through two world wars and the Great Depression, with each period producing unique challenges. Because of its central role, barberry eradication in Minnesota offers an excellent case study to examine how the program developed over time and ultimately achieved success.

Keywords: barberry; barberry eradication; plant disease control; stem rust; wheat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basidiomycota / physiology*
  • Berberis* / microbiology
  • Minnesota
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Triticum / microbiology