Just look at those bright red berries. The Nevin’s Barberry constitutes a visually striking shrub. Sadly, it also ranks as one of the rarest types of shrub in the world.The Nevin's Barberry is an extremely rare plant native only to two counties in #California, United States. Click To Tweet
Though the plant commonly grows in commercial nurseries, in the wild it remains extremely rare. Maybe because it only grows naturally in two counties in California, United States. Even there, only 21 naturally occurring populations of Nevin’s Barberry still exist.
To make their continued existence in the wild even more precarious, many of these populations consist of fewer than five individual plants. At last count, only 250 individual plants remain in the wild.
Nevin’s Barberry Physical Description
Nevin’s Barberry forms a moderately large species of shrub. Individual plants attain a size of as much as 13 ft (4 m) in height.
The species is an evergreen, with firm, spiny-toothed leaflets. It also produces these in extremely thickly interwoven groupings. Imagine brushing up against that.
Its foliage is principally a dark green in color, and the flowers are bright yellow racemes, forming in layers.
The fruit is a small, bright red berry, which is produced in large numbers. Its berries appear in late summer and are a favorite food of local avian populations.
Nevin’s Barberry Habitat, Distribution, and Threats
The Nevin’s Barberry grows endemically in only a small area of southern California, and within this range, it exists in harsh habitat types.
The various topographical conditions it inhabits include chaparral, flat sandy washes, rocky canyons, mountain terraces, and summits. The majority of its remaining endemic territory lies within the San Gabriel Mountains.
Given the scarcity of its numbers, the greatest threats to the continued presence of the Nevin’s Barberry in the wild is habitat loss.
This is especially true, since many of the remaining populations occur on privately owned land, and are, therefore, subject to potential urban development.