Tall Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) in the Barberries Database

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Tall Oregon Grape
Give a thumbs up Oregon Grape
Give a thumbs up Oregon Grape Holly
Give a thumbs up Barberry
Give a thumbs up Holly-Leaved Barberry

Botanical names:
Berberis aquifolium Accepted
Mahonia aquifolium Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9a
Plant Height: 3 to 6 feet (.9-1.8 m) usually: to 15 feet or more
Plant Spread: 3 to 6 feet (.9-1.8 m) usually; to 10 feet or more
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Dye production
Provides winter interest
Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Stem
Eating Methods: Tea
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Tolerates dry shade
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: seeds require a cooling period prior to germination and are best planted in the Fall
Sow in situ
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Self
Various insects
Miscellaneous: Monoecious
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern

This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 25, 2019 10:18 AM

I have known for decades that Oregon Grapeholly is in the Barberry Family. I never expected that younger botantists would become more "lumper" than I am and designate the genus as a Barberry. It develops a larger bluish fruit than any red barberry fruit and has compound leaves that makes me think it should stay as Mahonia. This species is native to the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia down into Oregon. The alternate compound leaves have 5 to 13 spiny, sessile leaflets with the whole leaf 6 to 12 inches long. When one cuts the stout, rounded stems, it oozes some yellow dye like barberry. Perfect, yellow flowers in 2 to 3 inch long and wide terminal clusters in early spring with a little fragrance. The fruit is a true berry, rounded, blue-black looking like a grape in late summer into December. It likes part-shady locations sheltered from winds in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. It likes a moist, well-drained soil that is acid up to around pH 7.0. I see it only occasionally planted in a few yards or landscapes around from the Midwest to the Atlantic. Some larger, diverse conventional nurseries sell it, and some native nurseries in the Northwest. Slow growing and sort of expensive to buy. Usually it is around 4 to 6 feet high and wide in Midwestern and Eastern US landscapes, but I found a few growing at a mall in Exton, PA that are around 15 feet high, growing in mostly shade in a very sheltered location between the parking garage and the main shopping building.

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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Feb 12, 2012 12:41 PM

Valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Feb 21, 2012 9:01 AM

Native to British Columbia south to Oregon; Pacific Northwest: zone 5 and protected sites in 4.

A broadleaf evergreen with irregular branching and an upright to spreading habit.

Shoots are thick and branch infrequently; the plant is stoloniferous and colonizing.

Typically 3' to 6' tall with similar spread and is slow-growing with a coarse texture.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 16, 2013 5:24 PM

Oregon's state flower.

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Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Mar 22, 2014 10:42 PM

Native in the Pacific NW, from southern British Columbia to northern California, east to northern Idaho and western Montana. Found in shady rocky spots, often in wet ground. Good screening plant in a shady area. Will colonize, but very prickly, so beware. Beneficial to thrushes, orioles, mockingbirds, thrashers, crows, and jays.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
no nervosa by bamira Feb 2, 2015 11:11 AM 2
Large Flowering/Evergreen Bushes to Edge Property by Izroion Mar 12, 2020 6:49 PM 5
Plant ID Holly with blue berries? by hiyall Mar 15, 2019 2:12 PM 8
Floral Alphabet Soup! Ingredients with the Letter B as a genus or common lead! by KatEnns Dec 15, 2017 10:45 AM 61
Help me to identify this plant by Saitarou Aug 21, 2017 1:37 PM 2
What is this plant, please? by nwplants Jun 18, 2016 4:38 PM 4
Mahonia aquifolium aka "Tall Oregon Grape" by Mulch_Maid Feb 15, 2016 1:38 PM 2
PNW Native Experiences by Bonehead Aug 5, 2015 3:28 PM 0

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