Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry)
Smith, R.W.

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia swaseyi (Buckley ex Young) Fedde

Texas Barberry, Texas Oregon-grape

Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Synonym(s): Berberis swaseyi


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Shrub up to 3 or 6 feet tall. Leaves up to 3 inches long, with 2 to 4 pairs of leaflets and a terminal one on a central axis; leaflets firm textured, evergreen, margins with spiny teeth, veins prominent on the lower surface. Flowers yellow, about 3/8 inch wide, appearing from late February to early April. Fruit a red berry, edible.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Fruit: White or red, 9-16 mm.

Bloom Information

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


Native Distribution: In TX, Edwards Plateau to Panhandle
Native Habitat: Open fields; wood borders; limestone ridges

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Rocky, calcareous soils.
Conditions Comments: Endemic to the Hill Country in many settings.Has many attrubutes of the more familiar Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata) with a larger longer leaf but similar look.


Use Wildlife: Fruit is eaten by birds and other wildlife.
Conspicuous 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

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1038 Collected 2007-06-10 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: EJF, DEW

Go back