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Nevin's Barberry
Berberis nevinii
About Nevin's Barberry (Berberis nevinii) Nurseries Show All Photos Berberis nevinii (syn. Mahonia nevinii) is an evergreen species of flowering shrub in the Berberidaceae (barberry) family known by the common name Nevin ' s barberry. This plant is endemic to southern California, where it is known from very few occurrences in the chaparral of inland canyons and foothills. It is a federally and state listed endangered species; there are thought to be about 500 individuals remaining, with half of those being naturally occurring plants. It is also widely cultivated in gardens and parks. This is an erect shrub approaching a maximum height of four meters. It has a dense foliage of dark green to bluish-green spiny-toothed, spear-shaped leaflets. It flowers in racemes of 3 to 5 bright yellow cup-shaped, layered blossoms. The fruit is a spherical reddish berry appearing in bunches. It is very cold hardy, heat tolerant, and can handle regular summer water. Because the leaves are quite spiny, it is best planted away from walkways.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.2 - 7 ft (1 - 2.1 m)

Max. Width
6 - 12 ft (1. 8 - 3. 7 m)

Mounding , Rounded

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Blue-Green leaves are prickly and unpleasant to handle without gloves , lending itself to use as a barrier plant.

Flower Color
Yellow, Green

Flowering Season

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy gravelly soils, washes, usually below 2,000 ft. Nearest the coast it may be found in coastal sage scrub or chaparral. Inland in the Transverse Range or Peninsular Range it occurs in chaparral, desert transition or foothill woodland.

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
220' - 5871'

Annual Precip. ?
10.2" - 35.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.22" - 1.78"

Coldest Month ?
43.9° F - 55.1° F

Hottest Month ?
64.5° F - 81.2° F

Humidity ?
2.35 vpd - 29.55 vpd

Soil Description
Adaptable but prefers coarse well drained soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15 - 30° ; F

Wildlife Attracted
Birds, Butterflies. Western Bluebirds are especially fond of the berries

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Rarely Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Inorganic, Organic with Rocks

Not necessary but can handle a hard pruning.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2.5 -3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Mahonia nevinii

Common Names
Nevin ' S Barberry

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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