Thorny shrub with small clustered leaves

sapodeFebruary 4, 2013

Hi there,
We moved recently and the last tenants here were not exactly gardeners. There are a few ill-kept shrubs and I'm working on my garden plans for spring. This shrub is the only one that is currently bearing leaves and it is in pretty bad shape (read: pretty darn ugly). It was covered with vines from a next-door-neighbor's plant until this morning. I uncovered it and now I'm trying to decide if I want to keep it or just tear it out.

The details:

Portland area, Oregon, USA.
Outdoor plant.
Appears to be a garden plant.
Woody shrub, upright, TONS of thorns. Small clustered leaves. Multicolored but I think that's due to poor health and not natural leave variegation. The healthiest leaves are a dark glossy green and are sort of holly-like in appearance, with small spikes at each "point" on the leaf.
It has leaves now, in mid-winter. The plant is probably 4 feet in height. No idea if it has flowers or berries at any other point in the year, as we've only lived here a few months.

More photos (copy and paste the URLs into your browser to view):
dead branch with thorns:
the whole shrub:

This is my first post, so thanks in advance for your help, garden experts!

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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

I think it is Berberis verruculosa, warty barberry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Berberis verruculosa, warty barberry

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:14PM
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