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Mahonia (Berberis) repens

Common Name:
Plant Type:
Evergreen shrub
Berberidaceae (The Barberry Family)
Geographic Origin:
Western United States
California Native?:
Plant Size:
to 2 feet high
Landscape/Garden Uses:
Mixed plantings
Flowering Season:
Spring and summer
Flower Color:
Sun or light shade
Well-drained soil
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate to little watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 0 degrees F. or less
This is a mountain dweller, ranging widely over the western United States. It is creeping in habit, producing erect shoots usually 1-2 feet tall at intervals along the rhizomes. The leaves are relatively short, with broad leaflets of dark bluish green. In winter they are brilliantly plum-colored. They bear short clusters of yellow flowers which develop into decorative, usually dark blue berries, often showing a waxy "bloom" like real grapes. Most mahonias prefer full sun near the coast, light shade inland, reasonably well drained soil, and moderate to little watering when established. Watch for and control the small loopers (a type of caterpillar) which attack and skeletonize the leaves. Hardy to 0 degrees F. or less.