Shrubs – Yellow Sapwood

Q: We chopped some shrubs recently and the trunk inside was bright yellow. Can you tell me what caused this or if it is normal?

A: You probably were working with a barberry or a mahonia. Both have bright yellow sapwood. Pieces of the wood and inner bark can be chopped and simmered with cloth to dye it a rich yellow. The fruit of both is enjoyed by birds, who indiscriminately scatter the seeds in shady places throughout the metro area.