From The Plant Encyclopedia
5 - 20
- Cultivation: Naturalizing, Low-Maintenance, Easy-To-Grow
- Light: Sun, Dappled, Part-Shade
- Soil: Rich, Mid-Fertility, Poor, Loam
- pH: 7
- Moisture: Medium, Well-Drained
- Form: Shrub, Groundcover
- Habit: Evergreen
- Flower: Large, Floret, Yellow
- Fruit/Seed: Medium, Berry, Purple
- Foliage: Leaves, Green
- Uses: Edible, Medicinal, Ornamental, Craft
Mahonia is a genus of about 70 species of Evergreen Shrubs in the family Berberidaceae, native to eastern Asia, the Himalaya, North America and Central America. They are closely related to the genus Berberis. Botanists disagree on the acceptability of the genus name Mahonia. Several authorities argue plants in this genus should be included in the genus Berberis because several species in both genera are able to hybridize, and because when the two genera are looked at as a whole, there is no definite morphological separation. Mahonia typically have large, pinnate leaves 10-50 cm long with 5-15 leaflets, and Flowers in Racemes (5-20 cm long).
The genus name Mahonia honors the Philadelphia horticulturist Bernard McMahon who introduced the plant from materials collected by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The type species of the genus is Mahonia aquifolium, (Oregon-grape) from the Pacific coast of North America.
Several species are popular Garden shrubs, grown for their ornamental evergreen foliage, yellow flowers in autumn, winter and early spring, and blue-black berries. The berries are edible, and rich in Vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavor.