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Oregon Grape
Berberis aquifolium
  
About Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) 26 Nurseries Carry This Plant Berberis aquifolium is a species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to western North America. It is the state flower of Oregon. In California, it grows throughout the mountains and foothills of northern and central California, and in Southern California, it grows primarily in the Transverse Range Mountains, Sierra foothills and higher elevations of the Peninsular Range. It is an evergreen shrub growing to 2 m (6 ft) tall by 1.5 m (5 ft) wide that spreads slowly by rhizomes. The leaves are dark green and holly shaped, and will often turn to hues of red and purple in the winter. Dense clusters of mildly fragrant yellow flowers are produced in early spring. The flowers are followed by spherical dark dusty blue berries, which give rise to the common name "Oregon grape". The Oregon grape is not related to true grapes, but gets its name from the purple clusters of edible berries whose color and slightly dusted appearance are reminiscent of grapes. There are three recognized varieties in the wild that were previously treated as separate species. Var. repens is a low growing form. There are also several cultivars available.

M. aquifolium is easy to grow, and a popular subject in shady or woodland plantings. It is valued for its striking foliage and flowers, which often appear before those of other shrubs. It is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. It prefers shade or part shade, but appears to do reasonably well in full sun too. It's very drought tolerant once established, but tolerates summer water well, up to 1x/week.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Shrub

Size
Size
3.5 - 7 ft tall
6 ft wide

Form
Form
Spreading, Upright Columnar

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Moderate

Dormancy
Dormancy
Evergreen

Fragrance
Fragrance
Fragrant - Pleasant

Flower Color
Flower Color
Yellow

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Winter, Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
Insects are attracted to the flowers. Birds love the berries.

 
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 5 likely * ) SHOW ALL

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade

Moisture
Moisture
Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 1x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Medium

Soil Description
Soil Description
Tolerates many soil types. Soil PH: 6.0 - 8.0

Common uses
Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Groundcovers, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants

Maintenance
Maintenance
It is reported to be susceptible to a pest called Loopers that can strip the leaves from a plant. This may be more of a problem in hotter, drier areas or plants that are in full sun or otherwise stressed. It is said to be resistant to oak root fungus.. Because it spreads by rhizomes, remove any unwanted suckers. To maintain an upright form, prune wandering side branches in the dry season to avoid infection. It tolerates shearing and can be made into a hedge.

Propagation
Propagation?
The species hybridizes readily and has considerable intra-specific variability. To propagate a selected variety, use cuttings from the stem or rhizome.  For propagating by seed: 4-6 mos. warm then 3-4 mos. cold stratification (Heit 1971). Three mos. stratification may give satisfactory results.

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Fir and pine forests and woodlands, occasionally chaparral and wetlands, up to 7,000 ft.

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 7.0" - 156.6", Summer Precipitation: 0.13" - 6.33", Coldest Month: 25.3" - 53.2", Hottest Month: 47.1" - 79.3", Humidity: 0.23" - 26.54", Elevation: 35" - 9243"

Alternative Names
Botanical Names: Mahonia aquifolium
Common Names: Mountain Grape, Mountaingrape


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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