A low, suckering evergreen shrub, with stems rarely more than 12 or 15 in. high, and handsome pinnate leaves up to 18 in. long, composed of usually eleven to fifteen leaflets. Leaflets stalkless, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, obliquely ovate, very firm and leathery in texture, prominently three-veined beneath, the margins armed with large, spiny teeth. Racemes erect, 8 in. or even more in length, with short-stalked, yellow flowers. Fruit roundish oblong, 1⁄4 in. diameter, purplish blue. Bot. Mag., t. 3949.
Native of western N. America, especially of the State of Washington; introduced in 1822. It is a handsome and striking barberry, but does not appear to thrive very well in this country generally, though it grows well and fruits at Wakehurst Place in Sussex. It always has been and still remains rare. It can be propagated by suckers. The foliage most nearly resembles that of M. napaulensis, but M. nervosa is readily distinguished by its dwarf habit, and the greater distance of the lowest pair of leaflets from the base of the common leaf-stalk.