Mahonia fremontii

Mahonia fremontii

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Encyclopedia
Mahonia fremontii is a species of barberry
Mahonia
Mahonia is a genus of about 70 species of evergreen shrubs in the family Berberidaceae, native to eastern Asia, the Himalaya, North America and Central America. They are closely related to the genus Berberis. Botanists disagree on the acceptability of the genus name Mahonia...

 known by the common name Frémont's mahonia (after John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

).

Distribution


Mahonia fremontii is native to California and the southwestern United States and parts of Northwest Mexico, where it grows in chaparral
Chaparral
Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico...

 and other open habitat.

Description


Mahonia fremontii' is an erect evergreen shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

 growing up to 4.5 meters tall. The leaves are several centimeters long and are made up of several holly-leaf-shaped leaflets, each about 2 centimeters long and edged with spiny teeth. The leaves are purplish when new, green when mature, and greenish blue when aged.

The abundant inflorescence
Inflorescence
An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Strictly, it is the part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed and which is accordingly modified...

s each bear 8 to 12 bright yellow flowers, blooming generally in the spring but sometimes in the fall. Each flower is made up of nine sepal
Sepal
A sepal is a part of the flower of angiosperms . Collectively the sepals form the calyx, which is the outermost whorl of parts that form a flower. Usually green, sepals have the typical function of protecting the petals when the flower is in bud...

s and six petals all arranged in whorls of three. The fruit is a berry
Berry
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors....

up to 1.5 centimeters wide, ranging in color from yellowish to purple to nearly black.

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