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Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Oregon grape Synonyms: Berberis aquifolium, Berberis piperiana, Mahonia piperiana, Odostemon aquifolium

Common Names: Hollyleaved barberry

Description: Outside its native range, has the ability to displace native vegetation. Medicinal uses of this plant includes skin diseases and noted for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Habit: Broadleaf evergreen, irregular branching with upright to spreading behavior, shoots are thick and branch infrequently, stoloniferous and typically 3-6 ft tall and 5 ft wide, slow growing.

Leaves: Alternate, pinnately compound, evergreen leaves, leaflets attach directly to the rachis, leaflets have spines, resembles English Holly, dark glossy green in color, new growth emerges reddish or bronze, 6-12 in long and contains 7-12 leaflets. Evergreen foliage turns purple-bronze in the winter.

Stems: Slender, stiff, usually upright, and usually without branches. The wood is whitish and brittle and has a significant pith, almost cork-like appearance. Bark of young stems is green; older bark is rough and gray-brown with yellow inner bark.

Flowers: Bright yellow in color, perfect, found in a terminal (sometimes lateral) racemes. Flowers have the scent of honey. Blooms from April through early May.

Fruit and seeds: Fruits are held in clusters, change from green to blue-black in late summer, individual fruits are 0.3 - 0.5" in diameter.

Habitat: Native to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, northern California and northern Idaho. Found in moist, organically rich, acidic, well-drained soils.

Reproduction: By seed.

Similar species: English Holly (Ilex aquifolium).

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand pull or dig.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from University of Connecticut Horticulture Plant Database and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Oregon grape

Scientific Name:

Mahonia aquifolium







USDA Symbol: