Fremont barberry Berberidaceae Mahonia
fremontii (Torr.) Fedde symbol: MAFR3
Leaf: Pinnately compound, alternate, evergreen, 4 to 6 inches long; 3 to 7, holly-like leaflets each 2 to 3 inches long, sharply spined teeth, thick, waxy, gray to blue-green above and paler green below.
Flower: Perfect, small (1/4 inch) bright yellow flowers are borne in upright, clusters of 3 to 9 flowers, appearing in spring to mid-summer.
Fruit: Reddish to purple berries, 1/2 inch across, edible, but sour.
Twig: Main stems are largely unbranched, with compound leaves arising directly from main stems; reddish brown when young, turning gray-brown with age.
Bark: Gray-brown, developing shallow fissures and ridges; ridge tops becoming slightly scaly on large specimens.
Form: A large, straggly shrub reaching up to 10 feet tall.
Looks like: tall Oregon-grape - creeping mahonia - dwarf Oregon-grape - red barberry
Additional Range Information: Mahonia fremontii is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting Fremont barberry.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson