PLANT: Shrubs < 4 m tall. STEMS: ascending, gray-brown, glabrous to densely hairy. LEAVES: evergreen, alternate; petioles 2-6 mm long; blades ovate to round, 2-4 cm long, 1.2 -3 (-4) cm wide, spinescent to spinose-dentate, glabrous or pubescent, concave below, undulate; apex obtuse to rounded. INFLORESCENCE: of 1-10 flowers. FLOWERS: with pedicels 2-4 mm long; petals absent. FRUITS: 4-6 mm, red at maturity. NOTES: Dry slopes, mountain canyons and open hillsides: Coconino, Gila, Graham, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai cos.; 646-2000 m (2,120-6,300 ft); Mar-Jun; CA, NV, OR; Mex. REFERENCES: Kyle Christie, Michael Currie, Laura Smith Davis, Mar-Elise Hill, Suzanne Neal, and Tina Ayers, 2006 Vascular Plants of Arizona: Rhamnaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 23-46.
Christie et al. 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: hollyleaf redberry Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Shrubs, usually less than 4 m tall; stems ascending, gray-brown, glabrous to densely hairy. Leaves: Evergreen, alternate, on petioles 2-6 mm long, blades ovate to round, 2-4 cm long, 1.2-3 cm wide, spinescent to spinose-dentate, glabrous or pubescent, concave below, undulate, apex obtuse to rounded. Flowers: Inflorescence of 1-10 flowers; on pedicels 2-4 mm long, petals absent. Fruits: Berry bright red, 4-6 mm. Ecology: Found on dry slopes, in canyons and on open hillsides from 2,000-6,500 ft (610-1981 m); flowers March-June. Notes: This previously was considered only a variety of R. crocea but has since been separated. It can be told apart by holly-like leaves, which are quite distinct from R. crocea, which has smaller, narrower, and mostly serrulate to almost entire margins. Ethnobotany: Taken as an analgesic, for headaches, rheumatism, as a blood medicine, for colds, coughs, boils, as a diuretic and as a kidney aid, as a laxative, for the liver, a stimulant, and for venereal disease. Etymology: Rhamnus is a Greek name for buckthorn, while ilicifolia means ilex-like leaves, a reference to the genus of holly. Synonyms: Rhamnus crocea subsp. ilicifolia, R. crocea var. ilicifolia Editor: SBuckley, 2010