UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners
University of California
UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners

Ornamentals


Shrub- Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry photo by David Hofmann
Common Name:  Coffeeberry

Botanical Name:  Rhamnus californica

Family:  Rhamnaceae

Description:  Evergreen shrub, native from Oregon coast to Baja California and Arizona

Sun: full sun to moderate shade

Water: drought tolerant; minimal water after established

Soil: sandy loam to some clay, dry flats, moist slopes, ravines, and rocky ridges, usually at elevations below 5,500 feet

Habit and form: 3 to 15 feet by 8 feet wide; rapid grower with dark red branches; reddish tint on long dark green leaves; leaves curl under at edges

Flower type: clusters of green or white star shaped inconspicuous flowers turning to pea-sized red berries

Flower color and season of bloom: flowers in spring with berries from July through November; berries turn from green to red to black (where the name “coffeeberry” comes from)

Uses, if any, for plant and/or flowers: commonly seen as an understory plant below coastal oak scrubs and other small trees. Berries are useful as food for birds

Pruning time and method: minimal pruning removing dead, diseased and crossed branches

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