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Products > Berberis nevinii
Berberis nevinii - Nevin Barberry
Image of Berberis nevinii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Berberidaceae (Barberries)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Mahonia nevinii, Odostemon nevinii]
Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Berberis nevinii (Nevin's Barberry) - A very rare and attractive California native shrub that reaches to 6-10 feet tall by as wide with rigid branches covered with gray-blue foliage composed of 3-5 leathery spear-shaped prickly leaflets that are tinged pink in new growth. The bright yellow flowers appear in clusters at the leaf axils from late winter to mid spring and are followed in summer by bunches of translucent spherical red berries that are quite attractive to birds. Plant in sun or light shade in a well-drained soil with little to occasional irrigation. Hardy to 0 F or a bit less. Seems resistant to deer predation and is oak root rot resistant. This plant is great as an individual specimen for covering dry slopes, espaliered on a wall or as impenetrable untrimmed hedge. Its natural habitat was in riparian areas within the chaparral, foothill woodland and coastal sage scrub communities throughout southern California in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. It is included in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants on list 1B.1 (rare, threatened, or endangered in CA and elsewhere) and is It is listed by the State of California as Endangered (Jan 1987) and by the Federal Government as Endangered (Oct 13,1998) . There have been a total of 34 occurrences of Berberis nevinii reported in southern California, 5 of which have been or are presumed extirpated and 7 considered to have been introduced. Total number of individuals is estimated at 500, with approximately half of those as naturally occurring individuals. In addition, the majority of occurrences are composed of only one to few individuals, with little to no reproduction observed. This plant was thought to be introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne around 1920. San Marcos Growers has offered this plant on and off since first growing it in 1987 and has a large specimen plant growing along the arroyo that runs through the nursery. Asa Gray described this plant in 1895 based on a collection made by Reverend Joseph Cook Nevin (1835-1913) in 1892 on the east side of the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. The name for the genus comes from the Arabic name for the barberry fruit. The specific epithet honors Reverend Nevin, who was a linguist and botanical collector and who also collected on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands with William Scrugham Lyon who Asa Gray honored in the naming of Lyonothamnus floribundus. This plant is listed as Odostemon nevinii on the plant list but The Jepson Flora Project and the online Flora of North America continue to lists it as Berberis nevinii and prior to this it was known as Mahonia nevinii.  Information displayed on this page about  Berberis nevinii is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.