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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2][3][4]. The fruit is almost as large as a blackcurrant and is produced in large bunches so it is easy to harvest[K]. It has an acid flavour, but it is rather nice raw and is especially good when added to a porridge or muesli[K]. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds, though some plants have larger and juicier fruits[K]. The cooked fruit tastes somewhat like blackcurrants[K]. The fruit can also be dried and stored for later use[5]. Flowers - raw. They can also be used to make a lemonade-like drink[6].

Unknown part

Flowers

Fruit

Material uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the inner bark of the stem and roots[7][8][5]. It is green according to another report[9].

Dark green, violet and dark blue-purple dyes are obtained from the fruit[9]. A green dye is obtained from the leaves[9].

This species can be grown as a low hedge and does not need trimming. Because of its suckering habit, it also makes a good dense ground cover plant though it can be slow to become established[10][11].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Oregon grape was often used by several native North American Indian tribes to treat loss of appetite and debility[12]. Its current herbal use is mainly in the treatment of gastritis and general digestive weakness, to stimulate the kidney and gallbladder function and to reduce catarrhal problems[12][5].

The root and root bark is alterative, blood tonic, cholagogue, diuretic, laxative and tonic[13][14][15][5]. It improves the digestion and absorption and is taken internally in the treatment of psoriasis, syphilis, haemorrhages, stomach complaints and impure blood conditions[13][16]. Externally, it has been used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash for blurry or bloodshot eyes[5]. The roots are harvested in late autumn or early spring and dried for later use[16]. The fruit is an excellent gentle and safe laxative[5]. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects[17] and is used as a bitter tonic[18]. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery[17]. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine[17]. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity[17].

The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn[18].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Hedge

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[19]. It usually germinates in the spring[K]. 'Green' seed (harvested when the embryo has fully developed but before the seed case has dried) should be sown as soon as it is harvested and germinates within 6 weeks[K]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in late winter or spring. 3 weeks cold stratification will improve its germination, which should take place in 3 - 6 months at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer.

Division of suckers in spring[19]. Whilst they can be placed direct into their permanent positions, better results are achieved if they are potted up and placed in a frame until established[20].

Leaf cuttings in the autumn.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Mahonia aquifolium. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

A very easy plant to grow, thriving in any good garden soil[20][11] and tolerating dense shade under trees[21][22]. It grows well in heavy clay soils and also succeeds in dry soils if it is given a good mulch annually[10]. It dislikes exposure to strong winds[K].

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[23]. Very tolerant of pruning, plants can be cut back into old wood if they grow too large and straggly[16]. Spring is the best time to do this[16]. Suckers are fairly freely produced, with established plants forming dense thickets[11]. Most plants grown under this name are casual hybrids with M. repens[24]. This species is easily confused with M. pinnata[24], with which it also hybridizes[11]. The flowers are delicately scented[25]. A number of named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[26]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[27][11].

This plant is the state flower of Oregon[4].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Mahonia aquifolium. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Mahonia aquifolium.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Mahonia aquifolium
Genus
Mahonia
Family
Berberidaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
permanent shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.75.8 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.3 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.6 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.317.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.2 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.120.2 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    21. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    22. ? Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
    23. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    24. ? 24.024.1 Ahrendt. Berberis and Mahonia. Journal of the Linnean Society, 57 (1961-00-00)
    25. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    26. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    27. ? RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)

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