CPC Plant Profile: Nevin's Barberry
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Plant Profile

Nevin's Barberry (Berberis nevinii)

This distance shot shows the plant in situ. Photo Credit: Valerie Soza
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Berberidaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 146118
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/14/1986

Berberis nevinii is a large rounded shrubby member of the barberry family (Berberidaceae) that grows up to 4 meters tall, with blue-green, spiny pinnate leaves. This species is federally-listed as endangered and is also widely cultivated and popular in xeric gardens, in part for its bright red edible berries and bright yellow flowers that bloom March through April.

Participating Institutions
Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/17/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted the California Botanic Garden to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden holds 2 accessions of Berberis nevinii in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 350 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 6 accessions of Berberis nevinii in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 115910 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

  • 08/28/2020
  • Propagation Research

Berberis nevinii has a long history in cultivation and has proven itself well-suited to cultivation with wide tolerances to different soils and cultivation practices (Mistretta and Brown 1989).

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has collected 2 seed accessions of Berberis nevinii from 1 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 9 maternal plants

  • 08/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Based on an August 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden has collected 2 seed accessions of Berberis nevinii from 2 plant occurrences listed in the California Natural Diversity Database. These collections together emcompass 22 maternal plants

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Mahonia nevinii is known from three counties in southern California. At least 7 of the 32 known populations have been extirpated and the remaining (twenty-one extant) populations are small (almost all have fewer than 10-20 individuals). The only large populations are in danger of being eliminated by encroaching urban development, off-road vehicles, horseback riding, invasive exotic species, vandalism, and altered fire regimes.

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Most of the historic habitat of Berberis nevinii has been eliminated by agriculture, urban development, and flood control and stream channelization (Mistretta and Brown 1989). Other current threats that have been identified at several occurrences, in addi

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

There have been a total of 34 occurrences of Berberis nevinii reported in southern California, 5 of which have been or are presumed extirpated and 7 considered to have been introduced. Total number of individuals is estimated at 500, with approximately half of those as naturally occurring individuals. In addition, the majority of occurrences are comprised of only one to few individuals, with little to no reproduction observed (CNDDB 2007).

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Berberis nevinii has a long history in cultivation and has proven itself well-suited to cultivation with wide tolerances to different soils and cultivation practices (Mistretta and Brown 1989).

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The majority of known occurrences, including those natural occurrences with the largest number of individuals, are located on private property and not protected. Only three natural occurrences are located on federal lands (national forest system lands) and subject to federal protection

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

More surveys are needed within suitable habitat or within adjacent areas to or upstream from existing populations to locate additional occurrences of Berberis nevinii. Annual monitoring of existing populations is needed to determine reproduction and seedling recruitment within populations. In addition, genetic analysis of existing and introduced populations are crucial to understanding population dynamics; and experimental efforts into reintroduction of Berberis nevinii into protected areas may be warranted.

Valerie Soza, Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Genetic analysis in introduced populations need to be examined to determined the seed source of these populations

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Berberis nevinii
Authority (Gray) Fedde
Family Berberidaceae
CPC Number 2777
ITIS 18826
USDA MANE3
Common Names Nevin's barberry
Associated Scientific Names Berberis nevinii | Mahonia nevinii | Odostemon nevinii
Distribution The distribution of Berberis nevinii is scattered with populations located throughout southern California in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Historically, this species was distrib
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Berberis nevinii generally grows in sandy/gravelly places between 240 and 820 m (800-2,700 feet) in elevation, on steep north-facing slopes or on low gradient, (south-facing) washes. Bedrock is typically of sedimentary origin (Boyd 1987). Associated plant communities are alluvial scrub, riparian scrub or woodland, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and/or oak woodland (CNDDB 2007). A notable floristic feature of sites examined was the presence of several desert species not characteristic of cismontane chaparral (Boyd 1987; Mistretta and Brown 1989).

Ecological Relationships

Little information is available on life history, population demographics, breeding system, and pollination biology of this species. One observation has been the development of fertile seed as rarely occurring (Mistretta and Brown 1989).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
Brush-footed butterflies Monarch butterfly Confirmed Pollinator Link

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