Berberis pinnata ssp. insularis

Common Names:
island barberry
Growth Habit:
Vine, Shrub
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Dieter Wilken, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The conservation of Berberis pinnata ssp. insularis is fully sponsored.
Dieter Wilken, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Although once known from three California Channel Islands, island barberry survives today at only 3 known localities on Santa Cruz Island, perhaps represented by only 1-3 plants in each. Intensive sheep and cattle grazing for over 150 years contributed to its loss on Santa Rosa Island. The last remaining plants on Anacapa Island died in the 1980s.

Island barberry is a shrub about 2-3 meters tall, and produces new shoots from short underground runners. Thus, mature plants often have multiple trunks, which form colonies up to 3 meters wide. The bright yellow flowers are produced in February, followed by grayish blue fruits in late May. Plants have been successfully cultivated at several botanic gardens in California. Collectively they show variation among leaf structure and color, suggesting that ex situ collections may be an important resource for recovery purposes.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research