Berberis haematocarpa

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Berberis haematocarpa
Berberis haematocarpa shoot
Berberis haematocarpa flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Berberis
Species: B. haematocarpa
Binomial name
Berberis haematocarpa

Mahonia haematocarpa (Woot.) Fedde

Berberis haematocarpa Woot.[1] is a shrub up to 3 m tall, with common names including "red barberry," "Mexican barberry," and "Algerita." It is also sometimes called algerita,[2] but that name is more often applied to its relative, Mahonia trifoliolata.

Berberis haematocarpa is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it grows in desert chaparral and woodlands, such as in the Mojave Desert of California. It is found on slopes and mesas in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua and Sonora.

Berberis haematocarpa has thick, rigid pinnate leaves with 3-7 leaflets, whitish due to a thick cuticle of wax. Berries are red and spherical, up to 8 mm across. [3][4]

This is an erect evergreen shrub growing up to 4 meters (~12 ft.) tall. The leaves are several centimeters long and are each made up of a few thick, waxy, lance-shaped leaflets with spiny toothed edges.

The inflorescences bear 3 to 5 bright yellow flowers, each with nine sepals and six petals all arranged in whorls of three. The fruit is a juicy, edible yellow-orange or pink berry just under a centimeter wide.

The compound leaves place this species in the group sometimes segregated as the genus Mahonia.[4][5][6][7]


  1. ^ Wooton, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 25: 304. 1898.
  2. ^ Flora of North America
  3. ^ Laferriere, J.E. Berberidaceae, Barberry Family. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 26:2-4. 1992.
  4. ^ a b Flora of North America vol 3.
  5. ^ Loconte, H., & J. R. Estes. 1989. Phylogenetic systematics of Berberidaceae and Ranunculales (Magnoliidae). Systematic Botany 14:565-579.
  6. ^ Marroquín, Jorge S., & Joseph E. Laferrière. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 30(1):53-55.
  7. ^ Laferrière, Joseph E. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Bot. Zhurn. 82(9):96-99.