Algerita, Desert holly

Mahonia trifoliolata


Algerita, sometimes called desert holly, is a hardy, cool-season evergreen shrub. It grows to be 3 to 8 feet tall. Its bark is reddish-brown to gray and has yellow wood.

Each leaf has three stiff, spiny, blue-green leaflets that resemble those of holly. From February to April its yellow, clustered, fragrant, cup-shaped flowers bloom and are followed by bright red berries.

Deer and other herbivores, including cattle, eat the young leaves and the berries are consumed by a wide array of birds and small mammals. It is also used as cover by birds and small mammals.


Algerita is found on rocky slopes and pastures and prefers alkaline soils. It is often found growing near live oaks and mesquite.