New Mexico Wildflowers: Barberry Family

Flowers are organized alphabetically by genus and species. Hover over a photo series to control the images.

Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)

In April 2022, a patch of Oregon grape stood out in otherwise still bare bosque along the Rio Grande. Some of the plants were about 3 meters tall. I suspect that this patch is an escaped cultivar of the species sometimes called holly-leaf Oregon grape. The native wild species I'm familiar with, shown below, stays closer to the ground and likes shady spots high in the mountains.


Red Barberry, Algerita (Berberis haematocarpa)

When the flowers and berries are absent, look for a shrub with holly-like prickly leaves. At the ends of branches, especially, look for a "central leaf of three" (the terminal leaflet) that is especially long and narrow. Otherwise, the leaves vary from narrow to fairly rounded.


Oregon Grape (Berberis repens)

This species is sometimes called creeping Oregon grape, because the plants stay low to the ground. The leaves are holly-like, with some turning red in cold weather. The lush clusters of yellow flowers give way to dark blue berries.