Berberidaceae2017-08-17T11:16:53+00:00

   Berberidaceae: Barberry Family

The Barberry family of course, includes the eponymous barberries (closely related to the cultivated Mahonias). It also includes (for reasons that will be clear only to professional botanists) the entirely different Inside-out Flower or Redwood Ivy.  Barberries can be tricky to identify with certainty.  Jepson’s Barberry appears to be confined to the southeastern part of the county whereas the California Barberry is more common on the Peninsula but, there are plants found on the Peninsula that in many respects key out much more easily (but not completely) to Jepson’s Barberry so one needs to be cautious about one’s identification.

California Barberry – Berberis pinnata subsp. pinnata

Blooms:

Feb–May

Plant Height:

< 20 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Rocky slopes, canyons, coniferous or oak woodland, chaparral

Notes:

A shrub with leaves that are holly-like but less prickly.  There are 7–11 leaflets with thin, wavy margins and 15–23 teeth on each side.  Clusters of bright yellow flowers with 6 petals in 2 series and 9 sepals in 3 series.  Berries are blue to purple.

Jepson’s Barberry – Berberis aquifolium var. dictyota

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

< 10 dm

Flower Size:

Medium cluster

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Slopes, canyons, coniferous or oak woodland, chaparral, mainly Priest Valley, ? also in Carmel Valley

Notes:

A shrub with leaves that are holly-like, dull green above and almost equally prickly.  There are generally 7–9 leaflets with strongly wavy margins and 6–10 stout teeth on each side.  Clusters of bright yellow flowers with 6 petals in 2 series and 9 sepals in 3 series.  Berries are blue to purple.

Inside-out Flower / Redwood Ivy – Vancouveria planipetala

Blooms:

Apr–July

Plant Height:

15–50 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Coastal conifer woodlands

Notes:

An unusual-looking flower.  It has two sets of sepals, the outer ones which are brownish and visible on the unopened buds, bract-like and deciduous, and the larger inner ones which are white, petal-like and curved back.  The true petals are much smaller than the inner sepals, white with yellow or lavender tips and curved in towards the stamens which are appressed to the style (not unlike the stamens of Padre’s Shooting Star (Primula clevelandii).  The name “Inside-out Flower” comes from the way that the pedicel appears to come from inside the flower instead of being attached at the base.  Leaves are ivy-like, ovate to cordate and 3-lobed.