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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. nervosa Pursh


Stems erect, 0.1–0.6(2) m; bud bracts 15–45 mm, lanceolate, ± leathery, persistent among upper leaf bases
Leaves ± crowded distally, 12–45 cm; petiole generally 2–7 cm; leaflets 7–23, 2.5–8 cm, 1.5–3 cm wide, lanceolate to ovate, flat, base ± oblique to rounded, tip acute, serrate, bristle-tipped teeth 10–24, 1–2 mm
Inflorescence 4–15 cm, ± open; axis internodes 2–8 mm, 4–10 mm in fruit; flowers > 20
Fruit 8–12 mm diam, ovoid to obovoid, subglaucous, blue-purple
Seeds 4–6 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=56
Ecology: Coniferous forest
Elevation: < 2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, n High Sierra Nevada (Sierra Co.), San Francisco Bay Area, n South Coast Ranges
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Idaho
Synonyms: Mahonia n. (Pursh) Nutt. var. mendocinensis Roof, Hardy Creek barberry
Horticultural information: SHD: 4, 5, 6 &IRR: 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

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