Mahonia trifoliolata

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Mahonia trifoliolata
Agarita, Agrito, Algerita (Mahonia trifoliolata).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Mahonia
Species: M. trifoliolata
Binomial name
Mahonia trifoliolata
(Moric.) Fedde
Synonyms[1][2]
  • Berberis trifoliolata Moric.
  • Odostemon trifoliolatus (Moric.) A. Heller
  • Berberis trifoliolata var. glauca (I.M. Johnst.) M.C. Johnst. ex Laferr.
  • Mahonia trifoliolata var. glauca I.M. Johnst.

Mahonia trifoliolata is a species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae, in southwestern North America. Common names include agarita, agrito, algerita, currant-of-Texas, wild currant, and chaparral berry.

Distribution[edit]

The shrub is native to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the Southwestern United States, and across Northeastern Mexico as far south as Durango and San Luis Potosí states.[1] In Texas it is found on rocky slopes & cliffs, and in thickets and open woods, from coastal South Texas northwest to the Trans-Pecos region.

Description[edit]

Mahonia trifoliolata is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 3–8 ft (0.91–2.44 m) tall and wide. It has rigid and spreading branches, often forming thickets. [3][4]

The foliage is gray-green to blue-gray, and the leaflets have sharp points at the ends.

Clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers bloom in February through April.[3] They are followed by red berries from May to July.

Taxonomy[edit]

Several authorities consider the entire Mahonia genus as part of Berberis, in which case the scientific name becomes Berberis trifoliolata.[5][6][7][8]

Uses[edit]

Songbirds eat the fruits, and quail and small mammals use the plant for cover. It is considered a good honey source. [3]

Food[edit]

The bright red edible fruits of the agarita can be harvested around late April to early May. The fruits contain a slightly sweet and sour juice, when expelled the juice can be used to produce an agarita wine or used simply as a fruit juice drink. The fruits also contain seeds and can be used to germinate new agarita plants. The fruit is a red berry used in jellies.

Native Americans of the Apache, Chiricahua, and Mescalero tribes used the fresh and preserved fruit for food, and the wood shavings as a traditional eye medicine and a yellow dye for hides. [9]

Cultivation[edit]

Mahonia trifoliolata is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in desert region gardens. [3] It is a low maintenance and drought tolerant plant, with a very high heat tolerance. [10]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Taxon: Berberis trifoliolata Moric.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  2. ^ Tropicos Berberis trifoliolata
  3. ^ a b c d Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Information Network (NPIN) treatment of Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita, Agarito, Algerita, Laredo mahonia)
  4. ^ I.M. Johnstone, Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 31: 190. 1950.
  5. ^ Flora of North America, vol 3.
  6. ^ Loconte, H., & J. R. Estes. 1989. Phylogenetic systematics of Berberidaceae and Ranunculales (Magnoliidae). Systematic Botany 14:565-579.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Laferrière, Joseph E. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Bot. Zhurn. 82(9):96-99.
  9. ^ University of Michigan at Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany of Mahonia trifoliolata
  10. ^ Texas Native Plants Database: Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita)

External links[edit]