Fruit - raw but more usually cooked in preserves
. Pleasantly acid, it can also be dried and used as raisins
. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds[K]. The fruit, which can be dry or juicy, is up to 15mm in diameter
The roasted seed is a coffee substitute
There are no material uses listed for Mahonia swaseyi.
Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects
and is used as a bitter tonic
. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery
. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine
. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity
. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse
. 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 the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their next winter.
Division of suckers in spring. 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.
Leaf cuttings in the autumn.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Mahonia swaseyi. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Unlike most members of the genus, this species requires a dry, perfectly drained position in full sun, a gritty slightly acid soil is best
. It does well in a hot, dry position
and grows best on a sunny south facing wall
. It requires as sunny a position as possible
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c.
This plant has been recommended for improvement by selection and breeding as an edible fruit.
Closely related to M. haematocarpa, differing mainly in having broadly ovate bracts up to 8mm long
. It is also closely related to M. nevinii
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Mahonia swaseyi. 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 swaseyi.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.11.21.31.41.5 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? 2.02.12.2 [Flora of N. America] ()
? 3.03.13.23.33.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
? 4.04.14.2 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
? 5.05.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)