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Berberis gracilis

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Berberis aristata
  • Mahonia gracilis
Phonetic Spelling
BER-ber-is GRASS-il-is
Description

Mexican Barberry is an evergreen perennial shrub, native to Mexico, with glossy, leathery leaves and lemon yellow flowers followed by copious blue fruits. Drought tolerant, this slow-growing plant has a tiering habit and cane-like growth with tendency to sucker and form colonies. Plant in the full sun to partial shade, this plant is drought tolerant once established.  It flowers from fall through winter providing interest in the landscape.

It does not like highly alkaline soils and will become chlorotic in high pH soils and desiccating winds. This plant has known pest problems.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: Leaf spots, rust, and leaf scorch from sun/wind.  Chlorosis on high pH soils; leaves can look burned but stems will regrow leaves next spring.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

Profile Video:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#winter interest#spines#glossy leaves#blue fruits#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#flowers early spring#winter flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fall flowers#perennials#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#winter interest#spines#glossy leaves#blue fruits#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#flowers early spring#winter flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    gracilis
    Family:
    Berberidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds enjoy the fruits.
    Edibility:
    Not poisonous, but berries contain berberine that can cause stomach upset, especially with children.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are dark blue, smooth, and egg-shaped.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Petals:
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Bright yellow flowers appear from late fall until early spring. Flowers are 6-parted, borne in an elongated raceme.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are pinnately compound with 4-7 pairs of leaflets plus a larger terminal leaflet, all lanceolate with teeth along the margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Security
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns