Oregon Grape

By: C. Colston Burrell
Oregon grape is a

Oregon grape, a native of western North America, is only grapelike in its edible blue berries. Otherwise it is a low-growing, shrubby plant with persistent, hollylike leaves.

: This is generally a dense, rounded evergreen shrub spreading via stolons and reaching 3 to 6 feet in height, although some selections are distinctly upward-growing and reach 9 feet or more. The leaves are compound, with shiny, spiny-edged leaflets much like those of a holly in shape and texture. They are dark green in summer, often turning red or purple-red in fall and winter. The small, modestly fragrant, yellow flowers are borne in dense clusters in spring. They are followed by blue-black, edible berries that take their full color in August and last until December.


: Oregon grape will take sun if kept moist, but prefers light to moderate shade. It does best in moist, well-drained, acid soils. It prefers some protection from drying winter winds. Prune back harshly every three to four years to keep it within bounds.

: The Oregon grape makes a good foundation or accent plant, and is well adapted to shrub borders and naturalizing in wooded sites. It also makes a good plant for erosion control.

elated species: There are several species of mahonia. Some are ground covers and others upright shrubs.

elated varieties: There are several selections offered that differ from the species by their dwarf habits or leaf color.

: Mahonia aquifolium


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