The compact barberry is a spreading shrub growing to an average size of 18-30 in. tall and 2-4 ft. wide. Its glossy evergreen foliage is comprised of leaves divided into 7-9 rich green leaflets that have prickly spines on the margins. Small clusters of intense yellow flowers are noticeable in early spring; attractive powder coated blue-purple fruit mature in summer.
This California native cultivar is one of the best choices for shady and moist areas in the Western Sycamore garden palette. It becomes a very attractive ground cover for small spaces and as an understory plant to larger shrubs and trees; new growth and cool winters lead to pleasing red foliage character. Its best growth occurs on loamy soils with good drainage and little moisture stress.