Fremont's Mahonia (Fremont's Barberry)
Family: Berberidaceae – Barberry Family
Evergreen shrubs. Mahonia is the only genus from this family represented at Arches National Park. This plant is 5' to 9.8' (15 to 30 dm) tall; the inner bark is yellow.
Leaves: alternate; pinnately compound; spiny-toothed bluish green thick evergreen leaves that look like holly leaves, but not related to holly; 3 to 9 leaflets; no hairs; 0.4” to 1.2” (1 to 3 cm) long, 0.24” to 1.2” (0.6 to 3 cm) wide
Flowers: 6 yellow petals (approximately 0.5 inch wide); 3 sepals closely subtended by 3 bracts or 6; 6 stamens; 1 pistil; fragrant
Fruits: purplish or reddish berry, hollow
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Fiery Furnace, outside Arches National Park in Negro Bill Canyon, outside Arches National Park on Portal trail
Other: The genus name, “Mahonia”, honors Benard McMahon (1755-1816), an American horticulturist. The species name, “fremontii”, honors explorer John Charles Fremont (1813-1890).
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.