Mahonia aquifolium (Berberis aquifolium)
Tall Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is the state flower of Oregon. The plant is not related to grapes, but gets the name from the purple clusters of berries it produces every fall. Its sharply pointed leaves resemble holly. The bright yellow clusters of flowers in April and May are both a lovely sign of spring, and a welcome sources of nectar for early pollinators including mason bees and bumblebees.
Painted lady butterflies, half-white carpet moths, mining bees, and other insects also use the flowers for food. The berries are eaten by many wildlife, including robins, waxwings, juncos, sparrows, and towhees, as well as foxes, coyotes, and raccoons.
Tall Oregon grape is well suited for low-maintenance plantings or loose evergreen hedges. It grows 5-8 feet tall depending on conditions, so in the garden it serves as a good evergreen backdrop, especially when combined with salal, sword fern, and evergreen hucklebery. Tall Oregon grape tolerates poor soils and summer drought, especially if it has some shade.
- Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
- Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
- Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
- Growth Rate: Moderate
- Spreads: Yes
- Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
- Fire-resistant: Yes
- Edible: Yes
- Mature Height: 5-8ft
- Mature Width:2-8ft