En EspaŅol
Mahonia aquifolium (Hollyleaved barberry) | NPIN
Share

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    
See a list of all Plants





Mahonia aquifolium (Hollyleaved barberry)
Makin, Julie

Mahonia aquifolium

Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.

Hollyleaved barberry, Oregon-grape, Holly-leaf Oregon-grape

Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Synonym(s): Berberis aquifolium, Berberis aquifolium var. aquifolium, Berberis piperiana, Mahonia piperiana, Odostemon aquifolium

USDA Symbol: maaq2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Holly-leaf Oregon-grape is a 3-6 ft., mound-shaped, broadleaf evergreen shrub with pinnately compound, glossy, leathery leaves. The 5-9 dark-green leaflets are armed with spiny teeth and turn reddish in fall. Terminal clusters of bright-yellow, bell-shaped flowers are followed by clusters of tiny blue, grape-like fruits. The bronzy copper color or the new growth in spring is an added bonus.

This stout shrub is the state flower of Oregon. The berries of this and other Oregon-grape species are eaten by wildlife and make good jelly. Native Americans made a yellow dye from the bark and wood of this shrubby species. Several are used as ornamental garden plants; in the nursery trade some of them are known by the common name Mahonia.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Green
Flower:
Fruit: Blue
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: CA , DC , ID , KY , MI , MT , NJ , NY , OH , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: B.C. to ID & n.w. MT, s. to n. CA
Native Habitat: Deep, conifer forests; open, rocky woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, acid loams.
Conditions Comments: Protect this plant from drying winter winds. Leaf scorch can be severe. Barberry aphids, scale and whiteflies can be a problem.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Widely used as an ornamental and has been reported as an escape from cultivation across the continent.
Use Wildlife: Berries are relished by a variety of wildlife.
Use Medicinal: Medicinally, various root preparations of Berberis aquifolium were used by Native Americans for stomach trouble, hemorrhages, and tuberculosis; as a panacea, a tonic, a gargle, and an eye wash; and to purify blood. Leaves and roots were used in steam baths to treat yellow fever; karok was used as a poison; and the tips of stems were used to treat stomach aches (D. E. Moermann 1986).
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Description: Can be grown from seed. Cuttings should be taken in November or after some exposure to cold. Treat with hormone. Simple division of the parent is effective if only a few plants are needed.
Seed Collection: Ripe fruits may be pick by hand, using heavy gloves, or flailed onto cloth beneath the bushes. Seeds can be removed through maceration and flotation. Seeds should not be allowed to dry out after collection.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Evergreen plants safe for horses in Louisville, Kentucky
May 16, 2010
I have a horse farm in Louisville, Ky. I want to plant evergreen plants along the walls in front of the horse barns. What types of plants are not toxic to horses can I use? Thank you so much for all y...
view the full question and answer

Plant identfication
October 21, 2009
Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for Michigan
June 17, 2008
I'm seeking a small-medium, ornamental, fairly compact, evergreen shrub to complement my front yard woodland wildflower garden. I want a shrub that will flank both sides of my front porch steps. I wa...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen screening shrubs for New York
May 27, 2008
I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.
view the full question and answer

Advice on planting Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) in Vancouver, BC
October 26, 2007
I live in the Vancouver, BC - Pacific Northwest area and the front of our yard faces south to southwest. If I were to plant a tree other than an evergreen, would the Korean Dogwood thrive in this are...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: UPL UPL UPL UPL UPL UPL FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mahonia aquifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mahonia aquifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mahonia aquifolium

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-04-12
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center