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Mahonia fremontii

Desert Mahonia
Berberidaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Decorative fruit or berries, Flowers

MAHONIA

Related to barberry (Berberis) and described under that name by some botanists. Easy to grow; good looking all year. Typically spiny-edged leaves are divided into leaflets; foliage can be quite prickly, so avoid setting mahonias too close to walkways or in other areas where they might snag passersby.

Yellow flowers are borne in dense, rounded to spike-like clusters and followed by berrylike, typically blue or blue-black (sometimes red or brown) fruit with a powdery bloom. Generally disease resistant, though foliage is sometimes disfigured by a small looper caterpillar. Fruit of all mahonias attracts birds. In general, pruning is needed only to remove old, damaged stems or to correct rank growth; cut those stems all the way to the ground.

Mahonia fremontii

Native to deserts of the Southwest. Upright, many-stemmed plant grows to 3–12 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. Gray-green to yellowish green leaves, each with three to five thick leaflets that are edged with very sharp, tough spines. Flowers in 1–1 1/2-in.-long clusters in late spring; dark blue to brown fruit. Full sun or light shade. Little or no water.

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