Virginia Tech Dendrology

tall Oregon-grape Berberidaceae Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. Listen to the Latin symbol: MAAQ2
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, persistent, 6 to 12 inches long; 5 to 9 broadly lanceolate leaflets each 2 to 3 inches long, leaflets are dark, glossy green above and paler green below; thick, waxy cuticles, sharply spined teeth along their margins. Lateral leaflets are opposite and sessile, while the terminal leaflet has a petiole; each leaflet has a distinct midrib.
Flower: Perfect, small bright yellow flowers are borne in long, upright racemes.
Fruit: Small (3/16 inch), dark blue berries, edible, but sour.
Twig: Main stems are largely unbranched, with compound leaves arising directly from main stems; green when young, turning gray-brown with age.
Bark: Gray-brown and smooth or slightly rough, sometimes appears striped as the bark matures.
Form: A tall, erect, evergreen shrub reaching 3 to 10 feet fall. Most commonly grow in clusters with numerous, erect, unbranched stems.
Looks like: dwarf Oregon-grape - creeping mahonia - Fremont barberry - red barberry
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Mahonia aquifolium is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting tall Oregon-grape.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson