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BERBERIDACEAE

BARBERRY FAMILY

Michael P. Williams

Perennial, shrub, generally from rhizomes; caudex sometimes present, glabrous, glaucous, or hairy
Stems spreading to erect, branched or not
Leaves simple, 1–3-ternate, or pinnately compound, basal and cauline, generally alternate, deciduous or evergreen, petioled
Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, or panicle, scapose, terminal, or axillary
Flower: sepals 6–18 or 0, generally in whorls of 3; petals generally 6, in 2 whorls of 3, or 0; stamens 6–12, free or fused at base, 2-whorled or not, anthers dehiscent by flap-like valves or longitudinal slits; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovules generally 1–10, style 1 or 0, stigma flat or spheric
Fruit: berry, capsule, or achene
Genera in family: 16 genera, ± 670 species: temp, tropical worldwide; some cultivated (Berberis, Epimedium, Nandina (Heavenly bamboo), Vancouveria )
Reference: [Ernst 1964 J Arnold Arbor 45:1–35]

BERBERIS

OREGON-GRAPE, BARBERRY

Shrub, generally from rhizomes
Stems spreading to erect, branching, spiny or not, sometimes vine-like; inner bark, wood generally bright yellow; bud bracts deciduous or persistent
Leaves simple or pinnately compound, cauline, alternate, deciduous or evergreen; leaflets generally 3–11, ± round to lanceolate, generally spine-toothed
Inflorescence: raceme, axillary or terminal
Flower: sepals 9 in 3 whorls of 3; petals 6 in 2 whorls of 3, base generally glandular; stamens 6, anther valves pointed down to ± spreading; ovules 2–9, stigma ± spheric
Fruit: berry, spheric to elliptic, generally purple-black
Species in genus: ± 600 species: temp worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: ancient Arabic name for barberry)
[see Moran 1982 Phytologia 52:221–226 for relationship between Berberis and Mahonia ] Roots often TOXIC; spines may inject fungal spores into skin.

Native

B. pinnata Lag.


Stems erect, reclining on tree branches, or vine-like, 0.4–8 m; bud bracts generally deciduous
Leaves cauline, not crowded, 9–20 cm; petiole 1–3 cm; leaflets generally 7–11, 3–7 cm, 2–4.5 cm wide, ovate to widely elliptic, wavy, base slightly lobed to truncate, tip acute to obtuse except tooth, dentate to serrate, sometimes entire, spine-tipped teeth 15–23, 1–2 mm
Inflorescence 3–4 cm, dense; axis internodes 2–4 mm in flower
Fruit 6–8 mm diam, ovoid to obovoid, glaucous, blue-purple
Seeds 3–4 mm
Ecology: Rocky slopes, coniferous forest, oak woodland
Elevation: < 1200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Central Western California, n Channel Islands, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Baja California
Relationship to B. aquifolium needs study.

Native

subsp. pinnata


Stems erect, 0.4–2 m
Leaf: leaflets serrate, sometimes entire
Inflorescence 3.5–7.5 cm
Ecology: Habitat of sp.
Elevation: < 1200 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Central Western California, Western Transverse Ranges, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Baja California
Intergrades with B. aquifolium var. dictyota
Horticultural information: 4, 5, 6, 17 IRR: 7, 15, 16 &SHD: 8, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; CVS.

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