Virtues: We love Oregon grape for the striking foliage with new growth emerging in spring in a radiant shade of bronze-red, changing into a rich green; in mid-spring, bursts of tiny, fragrant, bright yellow flowers bloom, followed by clusters of tart, purplish-blue grape-like berries.
Common name: Oregon grape
Botanical name: Mahonia aquifolium, syn. Berberis aquifolium
Flowers: Dainty, sweet-smelling, vibrant yellow flowers bloom in spring, revealing bundles of little, bitter blue berries. These berries, true to their namesake, resemble grapes in size and color and are often used as an ingredient in jellies and jams.
Foliage: These evergreen shrubs have striking, rich green holly-like leaves making Oregon grapes great options for hedges. New foliage has golden-red coloring when it first appears in spring. The inner bark/roots are often used for yellow dye and the roots are frequently utilized for medicines.
Habit: Oregon grape typically grows 3 to 6 feet tall with a similar spread.
Season: With year-round gorgeous foliage and stunning flowers in spring, Oregon grapes look beautiful through any season.
Origin: Native to the Pacific coast, Pacific Northwest
How to grow Oregon grape: These bird-attracting shrubs thrive in most well-drained soils and with regular watering. If pruning is desired, make sure it is after the shrub has flowered. Oregon grapes are most successful in part to full sun. USDA Zones 5–9.
Plant and berries image: H. Zell
Flowers image: public domain
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