Mahonia x media

6 Dec

Mahonia x media (05/12/2010, London)

Mahonia x media (05/12/2010, London)

Position: Partial shade

Flowering period: Early autumn to early spring.

Soil: Moist, Well Drained

Eventual Height: 5m

Eventual Spread:  4m

Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a,  9b

Family: Berberidaceae

Mahonia x media stem (03/12/2011, London)

Mahonia x media stem (03/12/2011, London)

Mahonia x media is an evergreen shrub with a dense upright habit. The leaves are pinnate and very spiky. Usually 9 pairs of shiny, evergreen, opposite leaflets, slightly angled from the stem creating tiered appearance. Small dark blue-black berries then follow the flowers providing forage for wildlife . Grown in particular for its winter interest, slender spike like fragrant flowers. 

Mahonia x media, commonly known as the Oregon Grape, is a cross of Mahonia japonica and Mahonia lomariifolia. Its parents are native to Japan and China.

The etymological root of the binomial name Mahonia was named by Thomas Nuttall after an Irish political refugee, Bernard M’Mahon. Media is derived from the Latin medium meaning ‘middle’, in reference to this plant being a cross.

Mahonia x media flower (03/12/2011, London)

Mahonia x media flower (03/12/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find Mahonia x media useful for shady locations and provides evergreen foliage and fragrant winter flowers. The form of the plant and leaves are architectural and striking. It will tolerate full sun but prefers a more shady location.

Ecologically Mahonia x media flowers are attractive to insects, and the berries are eaten by birds.

Mahonia x media has been awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Societies annual Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Mahonia x media prefers a humus rich, moist, well drained loam soils. It will tolerate most pH of soil.

Mahonia x media requires little maintenance. Stem may be removed in May to encourage bushy habit and cut back suckers and any dead wood at the same time. Pinching out these spent flowering shoots can in smaller plants encourage a more even habit.

One Response to “Mahonia x media”


  1. Plant of the Week: Nandina domestica « Davis Landscape Architecture Blog - 22/02/2011

    […] Heavenly Bamboo or Sacred Bamboo is not a bamboo at all and is actually more closely related to Mahonia or Berberis. Native to eastern Asia, from Japan to the Himalayas, it was introduced to England by […]

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