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?
Pinyon trees do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new trees instead of a quick meal.