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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia trifoliolata (Moric.) Fedde

Agarita, Agarito, Algerita, Laredo mahonia, Laredo Oregon-grape, Trifoliate barberry

Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Synonym(s): Berberis trifoliolata, Berberis trifoliolata var. glauca, Mahonia trifoliolata var. glauca

USDA Symbol: MATR3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This 3-6 ft. evergreen shrub, can reach 8 ft. in favorable conditions. The rigid, spreading branches often form thickets. Gray-green to blue-gray, trifoliate, holly-like leaves are alternate, 2–4 inches long, divided into three leaflets which have 3–7 lobes ending in sharp spines. Wood bright yellow. Flowers numerous, yellow, up to 1/2 inch wide with 6 petals and 6 sepals, which are similar, forming a cup shape around the stamens and pistils. Flowers appearing in February and March, their fragrance often filling the air where they are plentiful. Fruit a red berry, edible appearing from May to July.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 3-8 feet.
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: AZ , NM , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal s. TX through Trans-Pecos to s. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Hills; open woods; rocky slopes & cliffs, thickets and open woods from coastal South Texas northwest to the Trans-Pecos. Well-drained loam, clay, caliche, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Rocky, limestone soil.
Conditions Comments: This evergreen shrub has rigid, spreading branches often forming thickets. Gray-green to blue-gray, trifoliate, holly-like foliage has needle-sharp tips. Clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers are followed by red berries from May to July. Songbirds eat the fruits, and quail and small mammals use the plant for cover. It is considered a good honey source.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Songbirds eat fruits. Quail and small mammals use the plant for cover. Considered a good honey source.
Use Food: The lustrous red fruit, is a pea-sized berry that is used in making jelly and wine.
Use Other: Roots furnished a yellow dye used by early pioneers.
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: High

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to hide chain link fence
August 12, 2008
Mr. Smarty Plants, Please recommend a tall, thick shrub to conceal the 6 foot chain link fence around the perimeter of our property. The fence is located down a hill from our home with western exposur...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant shrub for privacy screen
November 23, 2007
Is there some kind of drought resistant bush or thorny plant we can rim our property with to stop all the foot traffic through our yard? We don't care if it's pretty, just something thick and/or th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wildlife and trees for shade.
September 29, 2007
We live in Kempner Texas, our land has mostly cedar trees. We would like to make a wildlife habitat on the back side of our property. Can you recommend plants that will grow in shade to partial sun,...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, sun tolerant plants for landscaping
April 19, 2007
I live in Driftwood and am looking for flowering, deer-resistant plants for the northern side of my house; however the house turn just enough to the west that the flowerbed receives about 3 hours of a...
view the full question and answer

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Wrights Nursery - Briggs, TX
Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 1054 Collected Mar 19, 1995 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0186 Collected Feb. 25, 1992 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0833 Collected Mar 27, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-6 Collected 2006-05-05 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Bibliography

Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1991 VOL. 8, NO.2 - Wildflower Outlook, Photography Seminars Offered, Ten Favorite Wildflower Areas,...
Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.2 - Berry Browsing in the Backyard, Director\'s Report, Essays on Trillium\'s, Natio...
Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.6 - Saving Trees and Plants at New Center Site a Big Job, Director's Report, Wildflo...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mahonia trifoliolata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mahonia trifoliolata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mahonia trifoliolata

Metadata

Record Modified: 2009-08-05
Research By: TWC Staff

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