Nevin's Barberry is an evergreen shrub that grows slowly to 5 feet then can slowly become a slightly larger tree-shrub covered with yellow flower spikes, 2" long in Mar.-Apr.. This is followed by hundreds of red berries loved by one and all of the bird community. Its foliage is kind of a blue-gray-green with brown-red stems and yellow 1/10"spines on the leaf margins. The birds seem to feel at home here as our cats will not jump into the bush. (Not twice anyway.) It was native in the Los Angeles Basin, Redlands, and San Diego Co. . It is extinct in many of its old locations. It likes full sun to part shade. It is very drought tolerant and garden tolerant, good barrier plant. Deer proof in most sites. Its tolerance to cold in containers surprised us to no end. All else in that block died but the Mahonia nevinii and Rhamnus californica, (and the Rhamnus was burnt). The M. nevinii had flower buds on it and came into flower in March better than ever! Not a slow down or even tip burn at 0 to -2 in the containers. I believe it is hardy to -30 because of this. I know it is at least 15deg. hardier than Mahonia aquifolium, probably as tough as Mahonia repens. Why it has these cold hardy genes in a southern California site is a question that would be a fun thesis for a Doctor of Botany or Morphology. It is a favorite of western bluebirds.
(syn. Berberis nevinii)
Mahonia nevinii tolerates sand, high traffic(people walking on it) and deer.
Mahonia nevinii is great for a bird garden.
Foliage of Mahonia nevinii has color green-gray and is evergreen.
Flower of Mahonia nevinii has color yellow and has a fragrance.
Fruit of Mahonia nevinii is edible.
Communities for Mahonia nevinii:Chaparral and Coastal Sage Scrub.