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Oregon-grape
Oregon-grape2 locationsPlant
.: joebartels :.
Sep 3 2011
Bill Williams Mountain Trail #21
Featured Detail Photo mini map No Full Photo Featured
ID1665429
Magnoliophyta - Flowering plant
FamilyBerberidaceae - Barberry
Prime BloomUnknown
BloomsUnknown - Unknown
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Mahonia aquifolium

The name is often left un-hyphenated as Oregon grape, though doing so invites confusion with the true grapes. It also occasionally appears in print as Oregongrape. It is sometimes called Tall Oregon-grape to distinguish it from Creeping Oregon-grape (M. repens) and "Cascade" or Dwarf Oregon-grape (M. nervosa).

The botanic name aquifolium means that the leaf is holly-like (from the Roman name for holly, aquifolium, 'prickly leaved').

The plant grows to 1–5 m (3 ft 3 in–16 ft 5 in) tall. Its leathery leaves resemble holly and the stems and twigs have a thickened, corky appearance. The flowers, borne in late spring, are yellow.

Oregon-grape is used in gardens and natural landscaping similarly to barberry, as a plant suited for low-maintenance plantings and loose hedges. Oregon-grape is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. Its berries attract birds.

The small purplish-black fruits, which are quite tart and contain large seeds, are included in smaller quantities in the traditional diets of Pacific Northwest aboriginal peoples, mixed with Salal or another sweeter fruit. Today they are sometimes used to make jelly, alone or mixed with salal. Oregon grape juice can be fermented to make wine, similar to European barberry wine folk traditions, although it requires an unusually high amount of sugar. The inner bark of the larger stems and roots of Oregon-grape yield a yellow dye; the berries give purple dye. As the leaves of Oregon-grape are holly-like and resist wilting, the foliage is sometimes used by florists for greenery and a small gathering industry has been established in the Pacific Northwest.

Mahonia aquifolium is a native plant on the North American west coast from British Columbia to northern California, occurring in the understory of Douglas-fir forests and in brushlands. It is the state flower of Oregon.
In some areas outside its native range, Oregon-grape has been classified as an invasive exotic species that may displace native vegetation.

Source: Wikipedia
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