Mahonia aquifolium

25 Mar

Mahonia aquifolium (19/03/2011, Walworth, London)

Mahonia aquifolium (19/03/2011, Walworth, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Berberidaceae

Mahonia aquifolium flower (19/03/2011, Walworth, London)

Mahonia aquifolium flower (19/03/2011, Walworth, London)

Mahonia aquifolium is an evergreen, suckering shrub with an open habit. It has pinnate bright green leaves with nine spiny leaflets, which will often tinge purple in winter and does not create excessive leaf litter. Yellow flowers are borne in densely clustered racemes in early spring and these are followed by spherical blue-black fruit.

Mahonia aquifolium Leaf (03/07/2015, Walworth, London)

Mahonia aquifolium Leaf (03/07/2015, Walworth, London)

Mahonia aquifolium, commonly known as Oregon-grape, is native to the west coast of North America. It has edible but not particularly sweet fruit, it can be used to make wine and is a part of the diet of certain native American Indians. Herbalists have known it historically, using it as a diuretic, a laxative, an anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial agent.

The etymological root of the binomial name Mahonia is derived from the sir name of  Bernard McMahon of North America a 19th century horticulturalist. Aquifolium is derived from the Latin and makes reference to its holy like leaves.

Mahonia aquifolium Berry (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Mahonia aquifolium Berry (28/07/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Mahonia aquifolium may be useful to the landscape architect as an extremely low maintenance plant particularly in shady locations. It can be planted as an informal hedge.

Ecologically, Mahonia aquifolium caters for a wide range of wildlife including insects and birds.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Mahonia aquifolium their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Mahonia aquifolium prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poor soils.

Mahonia aquifolium this plant requires little to no care. Pruning of unwanted growth or hedge maintenance should be carried out in April.

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