red barberry Berberidaceae Mahonia
haematocarpa (Woot.) Fedde symbol: MAHA4
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, evergreen, 3 to 5 inches long; 3 to 5, narrow, long 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 (1/2 inch) bright yellow flowers are borne in upright, clusters of 3 to 7 flowers, appearing in spring.
Fruit: Bright red, juicy berries, 1/2 inch across, edible, but sour.
Twig: Main stems are largely unbranched, stiff and upright 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.
Form: A wide spreading upright shrub reaching up to 12 feet and nearly as wide.
Looks like: tall Oregon-grape - Nevine's barberry - Fremont barberry
Additional Range Information: Mahonia haematocarpa is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting red 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