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If you find an dicot plant with evergreen, holly-like leaves and flower parts in multiples of three then it is likely a member of the Barberry family. The small yellow flowers are clustered together in racemes and mature into purplish, sour berries. Members of this family may have 2 or 3 small bracts masquerading as sepals on the back of a flower, but otherwise there are typically 6 true sepals and 6 petals, often appearing in series of 3 each. The ovary is positioned superior and consists of 2 to 3 united carpels (syncarpous) forming a single chamber. It matures as a sour berry. The inner bark is a brilliant yellow, due to the presence of an intensely bitter berberine alkaloid.
Key Words: Evergreen dicot plants with floral parts in threes and bright yellow inner bark.
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