The Creeping barberry is a tough and attractive spreading shrub growing to an average size of 1.5-2 ft.tall and 2-3 ft. wide, then very slowly spreading. Its evergreen foliage is comprised of leaves divided into 5-7 dull green leaflets that have prickly spines on the margins. These leaflets turn bright purple and red during the winter for pleasing seasonal color. Clusters of intense yellow flowers are showy in early spring; attractive powder coated blue-purple fruit mature in summer.
Creeping barberry is mostly native to Northern California as well as the Sierra Nevada where it grows as an understory shrub in the Yellow Pine and Red Fir forest plant communities. Its natural range extends to other northwestern states and Canada. While it does not naturally occur in warm inland zones of Southern California, it has proven to be a hardy and reliable shrub across the Inland Empire when grown in well-drained loamy soils, in light shade with low to moderate amounts of supplemental water during summer. This durable and handsome shrub grows well within the sheltered canopy of native oaks, sycamores and western redbud in residential gardens.