Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Ranges from the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County to near the foothills of the Peninsular Ranges of southwestern Riverside County, California (Fish and Wildlife Service 1998).
Comments: 2 habitat types: the margins of dry washes with sandy and gravelly substrates and alluvial shrub communities; and steep slopes with coarse soils and chaparral communities. The presence of groundwater flow may be a habitat requirement.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Comments: Historically, the range of this species probably consisted of fewer than thirty scattered occurrences. There are twenty-one extant occurrences and at least seven populations of the thirtyish known occurrences have been extirpated (Fish and Wildlife Service 1998).
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Berberis nevinii
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: 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.
Date Listed: 10/13/1998
Lead Region: California/Nevada Region (Region 8)
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Berberis nevinii, see its USFWS Species Profile
Comments: Construction, urban development, off-road vehicles, horseback riding, invasive exotic species, vandalism, and altered fire regimes (Fish and Wildlife Service 1998).
This plant is endemic to southern California, where it is known from very few occurrences in the chaparral of inland canyons and foothills. It is a federally and state listed endangered species. There are thought to be about 500 individuals remaining, with half of those being naturally occurring plants. It is also widely cultivated in gardens and parks.
Mahonia nevinii is an erect shrub approaching a maximum height of 4 metres (13 ft). It has a dense foliage of dark green to bluish-green spiny-toothed, spear-shaped leaflets.
Populations were historically found in washes of the San Fernando Valley.  There are about 21 known populations of the plant remaining, and almost all of them have fewer than 20 individuals. The populations are scattered throughout the San Gabriel Mountains and the Peninsular Ranges in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, its distribution possibly extending just into San Diego County.
Mahonia nevinii is cultivated as a drought-tolerant ornamental plant by specialty plant nurseries.  It is planted as a shrub in native plant and wildlife gardens, natural landscaping of parks in its range, drought tolerant landscaping, and for habitat restoration projects. 
It can serve as an impenetrable barrier hedge, due to the spiny-toothed dense foliage. With berries appearing in the summer, earlier/later than other chaparral plants, it is an attractive bird food plant.  The plant was introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
- Center for Plant Conservation Profile
- Flora of North America vol 3.
- Loconte, H., & J. R. Estes. 1989. Phylogenetic systematics of Berberidaceae and Ranunculales (Magnoliidae). Systematic Botany 14:565-579.
- Marroquín, Jorge S., & Joseph E. Laferrière. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 30(1):53-55.
- Laferrière, Joseph E. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Bot. Zhurn. 82(9):96-99.
- California Natives Wiki: Berberis nevinii — Theodore Payne Foundation . accessed 7.8.2012.
- The Nature Conservancy
Names and Taxonomy
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