Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Mahonia aquifolium
holly-leaf Oregon-grape, shining Oregon-grape, tall Oregon-grape

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; southern British Columbia to Northern California, east to northern Idaho and western Montana.

Habitat: Sagebrush slopes and open woods.

Flowers: March-May

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Erect, stiff-branched, evergreen woody shrub 1.5-20 dm. tall, occasionally stoloniferous.


Leaves alternate, pinnate, leathery; leaflets 5-9, oblong to ovate or ovate-lanceolate, 3-8 cm. long and 2-5 cm. broad, pinnately nerved from the mid-vein, glossy above, with 12-29 spiny teeth.


Inflorescence of several bracteate racemes 3-8 cm. long; perianth of 5 alternating whorls of 3 members each; outer 3 greenish-yellow, 2-3 mm. long (bracts); next 6 bright yellow, 6-8 mm. long (sepals); inner 6 bright yellow, slightly shorter, bi-lobed, oblong (petals); stamens 6, opposite the petals; filaments with 2 divergent teeth at the tip; style none, stigma sessile.


Berry deep blue, glaucous, globose-ellipsoid, 7-14 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.
Publication: Gen. N. Amer. Pl. [Nuttall]. 1: 212. 1818.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Berberis aquifolium Pursh [FNA3, HC, HC2]
Berberis aquifolium Pursh var. aquifolium [JPM]
Berberis nutkana
Odostemon aquifolium (Pursh) Rydb.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Mahonia aquifolium in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Mahonia aquifolium checklist entry

OregonFlora: Mahonia aquifolium information

E-Flora BC: Mahonia aquifolium atlas page

CalPhotos: Mahonia aquifolium photos

84 photographs:
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