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Mahonia nervosa

Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt.

Cascade Barberry, Cascade Oregon-grape, Dwarf Oregon-grape

Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Synonym(s): Berberis nervosa, Berberis nervosa var. mendocinensis, Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinensis, Odostemon nervosus

USDA Symbol: mane2

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

A 1-2+ ft. shrub with unbranched stems from long rootstocks. Pinnate leaves occur in terminal tufts and are glossy green with spiny teeth. Drooping racemes of yellow flowers are followed by blue berries with a grayish bloom.

This shrub used to be placed in the genus Berberis.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Dark Green.
Fruit: Blue, 8-11 mm.

Bloom Information

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


USA: CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: N. & c. CA Coast Ranges to B.C. & n. ID
Native Habitat: Wooded slopes below 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Slow to establish.


Use Medicinal: The Skagit tribe used Berberis nervosa medicinally in a root preparation to treat venereal disease (D. E. Moermann 1986).
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Increase is possible with seed.
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.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: 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


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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