Red Barberry

Berberis haematocarpa
Mahonia haematocarpa

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Berberis haematocarpa photo © by Michael Plagens

Mesquite Wash, Four Peaks, Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2008.

Leaf of Berberis/Mahonia haematocarpa photo © by Michael Plagens
Bright yellow flowers of Berberis haematocarpa photo © by Michael Plagens

SHRUB: A stiff, woody shrub often several meters in height and spreading to a similar diameter.

ARMED. The leaves are stiff and each lobe bares a very sharp spine. The stiff, woody stems are, however, without spines.

LEAVES: Leaves are pinnately compound with three to five sharply lobed leaflets. The leaves often have a distinctive blue-gray cast.

RANGE: This plant of chaparral and juniper woodland is found at the upper elevations of the Sonoran Desert, but sometimes lower in shady, water-supplied locations in canyons. It is also found in shrubby habitats from California to Texas.

FRUIT: Red berries are dry at maturity and seem to remain on the shrubs for long periods, well into the autumn and winter; apparently they are not highly attractive to birds.

FLOWERS: Bright yellow flowers in panicled clusters are very sweetly fragrant. There are nine green sepals and six yellow petals. Half dozen stamens. Blooming in spring.

Berberidaceae -- Barberry Family

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Berberis haematocarpa photo © by Michael Plagens

Camp Creek, New River Mts., Maricopa Co., Arizona. 14 May 2017.

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Page created 01 August 2008, updated 9 Dec. 2017.