Frangula californica (Eschsch.) A. Gray ssp. californica

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Coffeeberry is an upright evergreen shrub to small tree growing to 15' tall with bright gray or brown stems and glabrous to finely hairy, generally reddish-barked young twigs.  The leaves are alternate, oblong to lance-elliptic, somewhat revolute, entire to serrate, usually shining and glabrous above and glabrous or with a few hairs beneath, and with prominent veins on the under surface and acute to rounded tips.  They are usually from 1" to 3" long and on a 3/8" petiole. The flowers are greenish, bisexual, in axillary clusters and 5-merous.  The style is included and there are 5 stamens that are just barely exserted.  The fruit is a somewhat elongate to globose berry roughly 3/8" in diameter, green or black and becoming red when ripe, containing mostly two green to brownish seeds. Coffeeberry is quite abundant and is commonly found on dry slopes in chaparral, coastal sage scrub and coastal strand below 3500' (to 6000'), usually in shade and frequently near streams, blooming from May to July.  The first four pictures were taken in Eaton Canyon near Altadena, and the fifth at Lightning Ridge in the San Gabriel Mts.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Frangula 2) californica.
Pronunciation: FRANG-gyu-la ka-li-FOR-ni-ka.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.
Formerly Rhamnus californica ssp. californica.