Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Berberidaceae

Click the number at the start of a key lead to highlight both that lead and its corresponding lead. Click again to show only the two highlighted leads. Click a third time to return to the full key with the selected leads still highlighted.

1 Leaves 2-3-ternately compound; [subfamily Nandinoideae].
..2 Plant a shrub, with multiple leaves; flowers white
..2 Plant an herb, with 2 leaves; flowers green, greenish yellow, or maroon
1 Leaves simple (sometimes shallowly to deeply lobed), 2-foliolate, 3-foliolate, or 1-pinnately compound.
....3 Plant a shrub; leaves simple, palmately 3-foliolate, or 1-pinnately compound; flowers yellow; [subfamily Berberidoideae]
......4 Leaves simple, fascicled on short spur shoots; stems spiny; leaves deciduous or evergreen
......4 Leaves 1-pinnately compound or palmately 3-foliolate, either fascicled on short spur shoots (Alloberberis) or not fascicled (Mahonia); stems not spiny; leaves evergreen.
........5 Leaves palmately 3-foliolate; stems dimorphic (leaves fascicled on short shoots); berries red
........5 Leaves 1-pinnately compound; stems monomorphic (leaves borne on primary shoots); berries blue or black
....3 Plant an herb; leaves peltate, 2-parted or radially lobed; flowers white; [subfamily Podophylloideae].
..........6 Plant acaulescent; flower solitary and scapose; leaf segments 2; fruit a capsule
..........6 Plant caulescent; flower solitary, or cymose to umbellate, borne on a stem with leaves; leaf segments several; fruit a berry.
............7 Flowers cymose or umbellate; stamens 6; berry globose, 8-12 mm long, 2-4 seeded; larger leaves with only 2 clefts that extend > halfway to the peltate center of the leaf (thus the leaf divided into 2 halves, the other sinuses shallow)
............7 Flower solitary; stamens 12-18; berry ovoid, 25-70 mm long, many-seeded; larger leaves with 5 or more clefts that extend > halfway to the peltate center of the leaf (thus the leaf fairly evenly divided into multiple lobes)