Mahonia aquifolium (syn. Berberis aquifolium)
Oregon Grape, Oregon Grape Holly, Tall Oregon Grape ma-HO-ni-a a-kwi-FO-lee-um
- Evergreen shrub, 3-10 ft, (0.9-3 m), upright, often leggy, although some forms low and broad. Leaves alternate, compound pinnate (7-9 penna), 15-30 cm long, extremely stiff and leathery, spine-tipped along margin which is wavy having distinct troughs between spines, lustrous dark green above, may turn bronze to bright red-purple in winter, especially the latter if in cold areas in full sun. Flowers bright yellow, in 5-7 cm long and wide terminal racemes (early spring). Fruit blue-black berry, bloomy, 8 mm wide (mid-summer).
- Partial or full shade. Performs best in moist, well-drained,
acid soil. Avoid hot, dry soils (such as in parking lots or strips), and desiccating winds.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 Native range from British Columbia to Oregon. State Flower of Oregon.
- Several cultivars available, including:
- Compacta - which grows to an average height
of 2-3 ft (60-90 cm) and spreads freely
- 'Mayhan Strain' - 2.5-3.5 ft (76-106 cm) tall
- 'Orange Flame' - reaches 5 ft (1.5 m), new leaves bronzy-oranage, then glossy green, foliage may turn wine red in winter. Plant Patent No. 2544.
- Mahonia: after Bernard McMahon (born 1816), American nurseryman. aquifolium: the classical name for holly, the leaflets of Oregon Grape somewhat resemble the leaves of English Holly, Ilex aquifolium.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: north of Cordley Hall; east and west sides of Owen Hall (ECE).