Mahonia aquifolium

hollyleaved barberry add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Evergreens

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 3'-6'

Bloom Time: March, April, May

Bloom Color: yellow

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: attracts birds, berries, colonizing, drought tolerant, edible, evergreen, fall interest, medicinal, ornamental foliage, shade garden plant, showy fruit, woodland plant

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)
  • Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)
  • Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)
  • Fruit of Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)

Pricing & Availability


Mahonia aquifolium

Also known as:

hollyleaved barberry


Oregon grape


holly-leaf Oregon grape


Scientific Synonyms:

Berberis aquifolium, Berberis piperiana, Odostemon aquifolium


Mahonia aquifolium is an ornamental broad-leaf evergreen with year round visual interest. The leaves are large, deep-green, glossy and holly-like. They provide a perfect background for the large terminal clusters of small bright yellow flowers that emerge in spring. These are followed by equally showy clusters of purple grape-like fruit, hence the common name "Oregon grape" (it is also the state flower of Oregon).


Mahonia aquifolium is very easy to grow and low maintenance. It is tolerant of a variety of soils, including poor ones, and is also drought resistant within its natural range. It is perfectly adapted to shaded conditions and can be exposed to more sun in cooler areas. It can be used as a foundation plant for northern exposures, and will provide a perfect backdrop for spring bulbs. Does not produce a lot of leaf litter. A springtime bloomer, March to May, with fruit ripening in summer. Zones: 3-9


Propagate from freshly collected seeds that have been stripped of any fruit pulp. Germination rates are low. Can also be propagated from stem cuttings and root cuttings. Off-shoots from mature plants can be safely dug out and transplanted.

Additional Notes

Although very tart, the berries are edible raw, preferably mixed with other fruit that will act as sweeteners. They can also be made into jellies or preserves, and fermented into wine. The roots have been used to produce a yellow dye, and also used medicinally as a panacea. Due to its high level of adaptability, Mahonia aquifolium can become invasive outside of its natural range, displace other native species, and is considered a weed in some areas.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Order Ranunculales
Family Berberidaceae Barberry family
Genus Mahonia barberry
Species Mahonia aquifolium hollyleaved barberry