Shrubs evergreen, 1-4.5 m. Stems ± dimorphic, with elongate primary and short or somewhat elongate axillary shoots. Bark of 2d-year stems light brown or grayish purple, glabrous. Bud scales 2-4 mm, deciduous. Spines absent. Leaves 5-9(-11)-foliolate; petioles 0.2-0.8(-3) cm. Leaflet blades thick and rigid; surfaces abaxially dull, papillose, adaxially dull, glaucous; terminal leaflet stalked in most or all leaves, blade 1-2.6(-4) × 0.7-1.8(-2.5) cm, 1-2.5 times as long as wide; lateral leaflet blades elliptic to ovate or orbiculate, 1-3-veined from base, base obtuse or truncate, margins strongly crispate, toothed or lobed, with 2-5 teeth 2-6 mm high tipped with spines to 0.8-2.2 × 0.2-0.3 mm, apex obtuse to acuminate. Inflorescences racemose, lax, 3-6-flowered, 2.5-6.5 cm; bracteoles membranous, apex acuminate. Flowers: anther filaments with distal pair of recurved lateral teeth. Berries yellow or red to brown, ± glaucous, spheric, 12-18 mm, dry, inflated. Flowering spring (Apr-Jun). Slopes and flats in desert grassland and pinyon-juniper woodland; 1100-2400(-3400) m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Nev., N.Mex., Utah. Berberis fremontii is susceptible to infection by Puccinia graminis . The Apache Indians used Berberis fremontii for ceremonial purposes; the Hopi used it medicinally to heal gums (D. E. Moermann 1986).
Plant: Shrubs to 3 m tall Leaves: odd-pinnate, 3-10 cm long; leaflets (3-)5-7(-9), thick, rigid, ovate to lanceolate, slightly glaucous, dull gray-green, 10-25 mm long, 5-15 mm wide; veins obscure; teeth of leaflet margin 3-4(-6) pairs, 2-4 mm long, each tooth bearing a spine 1-3 mm long INFLORESCENCE: 3-10 flowered, racemose to subumbellate, 2-7 cm long; pseudopedicels (4-)8-12(-15) mm long; bracts 1-3 mm long; bracteoles 2, ovate, acute, reddish, 1.5 mm long, one appressed to the calyx, the other 4-6 mm below it Flowers: sepals 6 or 9; outer sepals 0.50-1.75 mm long, ovate, subacute, whitish-yellow; inner sepals 6.5-7.0 mm long, obovate, rounded, slenderly clawed; petals 6, 3.5 mm long, the apices entire, the bases scarcely clawed or cuneate with oblong, acute, marginal glands; stamens 4 mm, subtruncate to slightly rounded; filaments with two lateral teeth at apex; ovules 5-8 Fruit: berry, ovoid, yellow, red or blue-black, 1.5 cm long, sometimes becoming more or less dry and inflated at maturity, bearing sessile stigma; SEEDS ellipsoid, dull reddish-purple, 3 mm long Misc: Mts. of n and c AZ; 1200-2150 m (4000-7000 ft); Apr-Jul REFERENCES: Laferrière, Joseph E. 2001. Berberidaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 26(1).
Laferriere 1992, FNA 1997, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: Fremont's mahonia Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Perennial shrub 1-4.5 m tall, evergreen, stems more or less dimorphic, with elongate primary and short to elongate axillary shoots; older bark light brown or grayish purple, spines absent. Leaves: Odd-pinnate, 5-9 leaves on petioles 0.2-0.8 cm, leaflet blades thick, rigid, upper surfaces dull, papillose, below dull and glaucous; blades 1-3 cm by 0.7-2 cm, about 1-2.5 times as wide, lateral leaflets blades elliptic to ovate orbiculate, base obtuse or truncate, margins crispate, toothed or lobed, with 2-5 teeth, tipped with spines. Flowers: Racemose inflorescence, lax, 3-10 flowered, 2-7 cm long, bracts 1-3 mm long, 2 membranous bracteoles, ovate, acute, reddish, 1.5 mm long with an acuminate apex, 6 or 9 sepals, whitish yellow, 0.5-0.75 mm long, ovate, inner sepals 6.5-7 mm long, obovate, slenderly clawed; petals 6, 3.5 mm long, bases scarcely clawed or cuneate with oblong, acute, marginal glands. Fruits: Ovoid, yellow, red or blue-black berries, 1.5 cm. Ecology: Found on slopes and flats, often in association with pi-on-juniper from 4,000-7,000 ft (1219-2134 m); flowers April-June. Notes: Very similar to B. haematocarpa in appearance, they are told apart by B. haematocarpa having the terminal leaflet be much longer. Ethnobotany: Used for ceremonial purposes, used to heal gums, to promote digestion and as a laxative, as a liver aid, a beverage, the berries are edible, the roots were used to make a bright yellow dye, and the wood was used for a variety of things. Etymology: Berberis is the Latinized form of the Arabic name for the fruit, while fremontii is named for the American explorer and politician John C. Fremont (1813-1890). Synonyms: Mahonia fremontii, Berberis higginsiae, Mahonia higginsiae, Odostemon fremontii Editor: SBuckley, 2010