Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Mahonia repens

Creeping Barberry, Creeping Oregon-grape

Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Mahonia repens (Creeping barberry)
Alder, Michael G.
Creeping Oregon-grape or creeping barberry is a stoloniferous, sprawling evergreen of stiff habit with small, fragrant, yellow flowers in drooping racemes, followed by showy, purple fruit. The leathery, holly-like, compound leaves are a muted green, some turning mauve, rose, and rust-colored in winter. The plant grows 1-3 ft. in height.

A beautiful foliage groundcover for shade in the western mountains of the continent, Creeping Barberry has muted green leaves that are occasionally shades of pastel pinks, purples, and oranges. It thrives in good garden soil, but does not tolerate high heat or drying wind. Its yellow spring blooms attract pollinators and its berries attract birds.

Image Gallery:

17 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 6 to 10 inches high in the wild; 1 to 2 feet high in cultivation
Leaf: Bluish green with some leaves in pastel pinks and oranges
Flower: Flowers up to quarter inch.
Fruit: Blue 6-10 mm
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: In Texas, tends to bloom in early April.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , IN , MN , MT , NE , NV , NM , ND , OR , PA , SD , TX , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Mountains: British Columbia and Alberta south and east through California to the Black Hills, s. to Arizona and west Texas.
Native Habitat: Dry, open woods & hills at high elevations

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained sandy, loamy, chalky, or granitic soils.
Conditions Comments: Will not do well in too much heat or in drying winds.


Use Ornamental: An attractive foliage groundcover for cool climates in shade.
Use Wildlife: Fruit is eaten by birds and other wildlife. Provides wildlife cover.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2015-10-14