Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mahonias

A family of very attractive easy to grow evergreen shrubs that are related to the more popular Barberries. The fruits of some species are edible and tasty, eaten either raw, used in fruit salads or cooked in pies and preserves. The fruits do contain berberine and should not be eaten in excess, especially during pregnancy.
By simmering the berries in water, you can make a real good drink.
For the lushest foliage; they prefer moist, well drained fertile soil and partial sun. Pruning us rarely needed except for the removal of old or stray stems. All Mahonias, even old plants, sprout from old wood and regenerate freely. Fire resiliant; they can resprout from the roots after fire.
Older plants can be moved while dormant but it is best to cut them back in the process.
Propagation is from cuttings ( taken during early winter ) or rooted suckers from the base of the plant and is easy.

Mahonia aquifolium ( Oregon Grape Mahonia )

A very heat tolerant evergreen shrub native to parts of western North America with rainfall exceeding 38 inches, It usually grows up to 2 feet a year when young and can grow to 3 feet in its third year to an eventual height of 6 feet though some grow to 15 x 13 feet with stem thicknesses up to 6 inches.
Its leaves are up to 12 inches and are composed of 5 to 13 leaflets that are dark glossy green, turning to red in the winter and 6 x 2 inches in size though usually half that. Foliage is often red-bronze at first when unfolding in spring turning to bright glossy yellow-green before maturing to its dark green summer color.
The foliage is rust resistant.
It also has yellow flowers born in clusters up to 4.5 inches in the late winter which are followed by glaucous blue to purple-black fruit to 0.5 inch that is edible and can be used in jellies.

The Oregon Grape Mahonia is very heat tolerant and hardy from zone 4 to 10 and grow best in moist, acid, rich, well drained soil in partial shade on sheltered sites. Though pruning is not usually necessary, all Mahonias sprout from old wood and even old plants can regenerate freely. Can be cut back in March to encourage bushiness. Mahonia aquifolium grows best in climates with 38 inches or more rainfall per year. Its roots are even known to survive fire and the plant regrow after. Propagated from semi-ripe cuttings in summer or fresh seed sown in autumn.

One unusual variety called 'Green Ripple' has foliage that remains lush green all winter instead of turning red-crimson






* photos taken on Feb 2009 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.




* photo taken on April 6 2010 in Clarksville, MD













* photo taken on Apr 4 2013 in Baltimore County, MD

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.



* photo taken on May 1 2013 in Baltimore Co., MD


* photos taken on Apr 15 2014 in Columbia, MD




'Atropurpureum'
In full sun the foliage turns glossy purplish-black during winter, in shade it often remains glossy deep green.

'Compactum'
a handsome dwarf form to 4 ( rarely over 3 ) feet in height

'Golden Abundance'

Fast growing and vigorous with very large, bold, lustrous shiny green leaves. It is densely foliages and can reach up to 8 x 6 feet.
The abundant bright golden yellow flowers in spring and fall are borne in large clusters.
A heavy crop of attractive purple-blue berries follows the flowers. The berries are edible and can be used for jellies.
Hardy zones 6 to 10

'Piperiana'
a wild variety from southern Oregon with up to 9 wider, extremely glossy leaflets up to 4 x 2 inches in size that are even glossy beloe.

Mahonia bealei
A fast growing, coarse-textured, very upright, medium to large, evergreen shrub, reaching up to 12 feet, that is native to western China. Some records include: 5 years - 6.5 x 6.5 feet; largest on record - 15 x 10 feet.
The pinnate leaves, up to 20 inches in length, are broken up into 9 to 15 deep blue green 6 x 6 inch spiny leaflets that maintain their color all winter.
The foliage is resistant to rust.
The fragrant yellow flowers are borne on clusters up to 9 inches long, during late winter. They are followed by small 0.5 inch blue fruit.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 ( can be killed to ground at -17 F ) in partial shade on moist, fertile, well drained soil. Though pruning is not usually necessary, all Mahonias sprout from old wood and even old plants can regenerate freely.

* photo taken on Feb 2009 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.





* photos taken in Columbia, MD on Jan 2010









* photo taken in March 17 2010 in Columbia, MD






* photos taken on April 5 2010 in Columbia, MD







* photos taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD









* photo taken on Oct 25 2013 in Columbia, MD


* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD








Mahonia confusa
A small shrub, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 4 feet. Some records include: 5 years - 3.3 x 3.3 feet.
The very attractive pinnate leaves are composed of glossy, blue-green, narrow leaflets.
Flowers in late fall are yellow.
Hardy north to zone 7b

Mahonia eurybracteata ( Narrowleaf Mahonia )
A moderate growing, small to medium-sized, evergreen shrub, reaching up to 4.5 x 5 feet, that is native to central and southern China. Some records include: 5 years - 2.4 feet.
The bright yellow flowers are borne during early spring.
Hardy zones 7 to 9

'Soft Caress'
A very fine-textured foliaged form, which forms a small shrub, reaching up to 4 feet across.

* photo taken on July 10 2013 in Ellicott City, MD




Mahonia fortunei ( Chinese Mahonia )
A dense, compact moderate growing fine textured shrub native to China that can reach up to 5 feet or rarely 7 x 10 feet in zone 8+; less in cooler climates. It is much less coarse than Mahonia bealei.
The pinnate leaves are up to 10 inches long and are composed of up to 13 leaflets that are up to 5 x 0.7 inches in size. The leaflets are toothed instead of spiny with 10 teeth on each side. The very attractive, fine-textured foliage is bronze when young turning to deep green above & pale beneath.
The bright yellow autumn flowers are borne in short racemes up to 3 inches in length during autumn.
Prefers hot summers and is hardy from zones 6 to 10. Foliage falls off at 5 F or below and in zone 6 can be killed to ground level where resprouting may not be very vigorous. Less cold hardy than other Mahonias; it really does make an excellent plant in the Deep South.

'Confusa'
Reaching up to 4.5 feet or more in height; this cultivar has leaves with up to 20 leaflets that are sea green above & silver below. Hardy north to zone 7.

'Winter Prince'
Reaches up to 5 feet. The fernlike foliage is red at first, turning to deep green.

Mahonia fremontii ( Desert Mahonia )
Native to southwestern U.S. from Colorado and south and surrounding parts of Mexico. This is an open branching shrub to 8 feet or rarely 15 x 12 feet.
The 4 inch leaves are composed of 5 to 11 spiny toothed leaflets up to 2.5 x 1 inches in size. The best forms are strongly glaucous blue though it can also be pale green.
The yellow flowers are in clusters that open in summer and are followed by fruits that can be dark yellow to red.
Requiring climates with 12 inches of rainfall per year or more, this Mahonia is drought tolerant and hardy from zones 5 to 11.

Mahonia gracilipes ( Red Flowered Mahonia )
An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 6 x 6 feet, that is native to China.
Large bold leaves that are deep green above and striking white beneath.
The leaves, up to 2 feet in length, are composed of leaflets up to 6 x 3 inches in size.
The red and yellow flowers are borne on tall racemes.
They are followed by blue berries during late autumn.
Hardy zones 7a to 8 in partial shade on moist, humus-rich, well drained soil.
It is very limestone tolerant.

* photo taken on April 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum



* photos taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC




Mahonia gracilis ( Slender Mahonia )
Reaching up to 10.5 feet tall. It is extremely heat & drought tolerant ( even in Texas ) and is hardy zones 7 to 10 tolerating as low as 0 F. Also tolerant of heavy clay if site is well drained.
The attractive foliage is glossy bright lime-green, later deepening to mid blue-green during summer then to reds and oranges during winter. This Mahonia is not thorny or spiny.
The very fragrant flowers are orange-red.

Mahonia haematocarpa ( Redberry Mahonia )
Native from southern California and Utah to central Colorado and western Texas; south to Sonora, Mexico. It is a moderate growing, medium size shrub with the largest on record being 13 x 12 feet. Far outside its native range; it is recorded to reach 7 feet in North Carolina.
It makes a great screen plant for dry climates and its spiny foliage also makes for a good barrier plant.
The 4 inch evergreen leaves are composed of up to 7 leaflets that can reach 2.7 x 0.4 inches in size and are blue-gray.
The fragrant, yellow flowers are borne in clusters, up to 2 inches in length, during late spring.
They are followed by showy, abundant, dark red berries during late summerlasting well into autumn.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 in full sun on well drained soil. Drought tolerant.

Mahonia japonica ( Japanese Mahonia )
Native to Japan however commonly grown in China, dense, upright and vigorous; it can reaches up to 10 x 13 feet Some records include: fastest growth rate - 2 feet; 4 years - 3.3 feet; 6 years - 4 feet; largest on record - 17 x 13 feet.
It makes an excellent architectural plant in the landscape.
The leaves are up to 18 inches in length and are composed of up to 19 spiny leathery leaflets. The leaflets are glossy dark green and up to 7 x 1.5 inches in size and color best in partial shade. In cold climates, the foliage often turns to red and yellow during the winter.
The fragrant bright yellow late winter flowers are borne in upright or arching racemes up to 10 inches in length. The flowers are followed by grape like bunches of small 0.5 inch blue-black berries.
Very shade tolerant and hardy from zone 5 to 8. Propagation by seed in autumn or by semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

'Hiemalis'
foliage up to 20 inches in length and very fragrant flowers in clusters up to 14 inches in length

Mahonia lomarifolia ( Burmese Mahonia )
Native to western China & Burma; this Mahonia grows at a moderate rate to 15 feet or more with the largest on record being 40 x 20 feet. In habit; it is a clump of upright "canes" topped with long spiny somewhat pendulous leaves up to 40 inches in length.
The leaves are composed of 20 to 40 spiny leaflets up to 4 inches in length. The foliage is red-bronze at first later turning to glossy deep green. Each leaflet has 5 spines.
The fragrant yellow flowers are borne in upright 10 inch spikes crowded at the ends of the stems. They open in fall however continue on and off until spring. The flowers are followed by blue-purple berries.
Hardy zones 7 to 10

Mahonia mairei
Similar to Mahonia lomarifolia, except with even larger leaves that are the largest of any Mahonia. It generally reaches around 12 x 5 feet, with long pinnate foliage that is red-bronze at first, later turning to glossy gray-green.
The flowers are orange.
This Yunnan province, Chinese native is the most spectacular of the Mahonias but is less hardy than most, only surviving in zones 8 and 9.

Mahonia x media
A family of vigorous hybrid Mahonias that result from mixing the hardiness of M. japonica and the lush foliage of M. lomarifolia.
Moderate to vigorous, growing up to 2 feet per year; they can reach up to 10 feet or more with the largest on record being 17 x 17 feet.
The foliage is very attractive up to 18 inches in length with up to 21 leaflets up to 4.5 x 1.5 inches in size. They are glossy dark green sometimes turning reddish in winter.
The yellow flowers are in long erect racemes up to 12 inches in length from late autumn to early spring.
Propagation is from semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Hardy zones 6 to 10

'Arthur Menzies'
Vigorous, strong and upright in habit, it can reach a maximum height of 20 feet. Some records include: 6 years - 9 feet.
The very beautiful blue-green leaves, up to 24 inches in length, are composed of up to 19 leaflets.
It bears huge, showy clusters of bright yellow flower racemes up to 12 x 14 inches in size.

'Buckland'
Dense, vigorous and upright up to 8 feet tall or more ( rarely to 17 x 17 feet ) with fragrant bright yellow flowers in huge arching racemes up to 26 x 24 inches.

'Charity'
Dense, vigorous and upright growing large up to 17 x 12 feet with huge foliage up to 18 x 12 inches in its entirity. The foliage often turns to intense scarlet-red during winter.

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC




'Winter Sun'
Reaching a maximum size of 16 x 10 ( rarely over 10 ) feet; this Mahonia hybrid has racemes held horizontally and they begin to open in autumn.

* photos taken in Columbia, MD on March 17 2010

















* photo taken on May 1 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 8 2011 in Columbia, MD




* photos taken on dec 18 2011 in Columbia, MD






* photo taken on Apr 20 2012 in Columbia, MD


Mahonia napaulensis ( Acanthus Mahonia )
Native to Assam & Sikkim in northeast India as well as Nepal, this very handsome erect shrub can grow up to 15 feet or rarely 25 x 10 feet. This Mahonia is very similar to M. lomarifolia.
The leaves are up to 30 inches in length and are composed of 13 to 25 narrow toothed glossy dark green leaflets up to 4 x 1.6 inches in size.
The scented light yellow flowers are borne in racemes up to 12 inches long in late winter.
Hardy zones 8 to 11

'Mahaeajah'
hardy north to zone 6

Mahonia nervosa ( Cascades Mahonia )
A very striking, vigorous, suckering shrub native to northwestern North America ( from southern British Columbia to northern Idaho; south to central California ) that can reach 1.5 to 3 feet tall and wide with the largest on record being 7 x 17 feet. This Mahonia spreads by underground runners. It is useful as groundcover in open woods.
The leaves, up to 30 inches long, are composed of 11 to 23 leathery, toothed leaflets up to 3.5 x 2 inches in size. They are glossy gray green above, blue beneath; turning deep red in fall and winter. The foliage is rust resistant.
The, fragrant, bright yellow flowers are borne in crowded, erect racemes, up to 8 inches in length, during late winter.
They are followed by edible, blue-black berries up to 0.33 inches in size.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 in full to partial shade, preferring the woodland garden.
Very drought tolerant once established. It is also tolerant of deep shade, salt spray and tree root competition. Older plants that are over grown or are loosing their vigor, can be cut to ground during early spring.

var mendocinoensis
Very rare and larger growing, reaching a maximum height of 14 feet, and is native to redwood forests of northern California and southwest Oregon.

Mahonia nevinii
Endangered and native to southern California; this species forms a shrub up to 14 x 12 feet.
The evergreen leaves are composed of 3 to 7 narrow pointed leaflets up to 2 x 0.4 inches that are 6 spine tip toothed on each side. They are grayish to blue-green above and white below.
The open racemes up to 2 inches of yellow flowers are borne in spring and are followed by dark red berries.
Requires climates with 12 inches of rainfall per year or more. Hardy zones 5 to 10 tolerating as low as -30 F No frost damage in containers at -2 F

Mahonia pinnata ( California Holly Grape )
A California ( as well as southwest Oregon ) native that is similar to Mahonia aquifolium but more stiff and upright in habit with finer serrated foliage. It is moderate growing and suckering to 13 x 8 feet and can even reach 23 feet when it occasionally becomes vine like in habit.
Its leaves, up to 8 inches in length, are composed of up to 13 leaflets up to 3 inches in length with 13 spines on each side. The foliage is matt medium green in summer turning to red above & purplish beneath in winter.
The late winter clusters of yellow flowers are later followed by blue-black berries.
Requiring climates with 16 inches of rainfall per year or more; it is hardy zones 5 to 9 and tolerant of both heat and drought.

'Ken S. Howard'
Vigorous, dense and upright in habit, with very handsome deep green foliage.
Otherwise similar.

Mahonia pumila
Native to the western U.S. from Oregon to California; this is a suckering shrub that only reaches up to 20 inches tall but can spread up to 3.5 feet or more.
The leaves are made of 5 to 9 spiny leaflets up to 6 inches long and are light purple-red in spring turning to gray-green. The foliage is rust resistant.
The spring flowers are yellow and are borne in small racemes.
Hardy zones 6 to 9

Mahonia repens ( Creeping Mahonia )
This Mahonia forms a slow growing, long-lived shrub, up to 2 x 6 + feet, and suckers freely to form a large clump. It is native from British Columbia to North Dakota; south to nw California to New Mexico. It makes a great groundcover under trees.
The leaves are up to 10 inches in length and are composed of 5 to 7 very spiny leaflets up to 4 x 2.5 inches in size. The foliage is blue-green and turn purplish in winter. They undersides of the leaflets have small protuberances. The foliage is rust resistant.
The fragrant, deep yellow flowers are borne in racemes up to 4 inches in length, during mid to late spring. They are followed by edible, deep blue 0.25 inch berries.
Hardy zones 4 to 7 in partial to full shade. It is considered to be an excellent groundcover choice in England, and also thrives in eastern North America though not native there. Drought resistant and rarely bothered by deer.
Deep snow protects foliage from winter burn, mulch roots during winter in very cold climates.

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.



* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA


'Denver Strain'
attractive dark green foliage

'Rotundifolia'
round entire leaflets. A taller plant with the largest on record reaching 5 x 7 feet

Mahonia 'Skylands'
The hybrid between Mahonia aquifolium & Mahonia pinnata.
Glossy deep green foliage.

Mahonia swaseyi ( Texas Barberry )
A medium-sized, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 6.5 x 5 ( rarely over 5 ) feet, that is native to limestone ridges on the Edwards Plateau in Texas. It is endangered in the wild however makes a very attractive, easy to grow landscape plant for the south-central U.S.
The pinnate leaves, up to 3 inches in length, are composed of 5 to 9 Holly-spaped, spiny leaflets. The foliage is bright green during summer, turning to red and purple during autumn and winter.
The fragrant, golden-yellow flowers are borne during early spring.
They are followed by showy, orange-red berries, up to 0.6 inches long. The berries are larger than the related Mahonia haematocarpa.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 ( should be tested in 6 ) in full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. It is very tolerant of heat and drought.


Mahonia trifolia
Native to southeast Arizona to New Mexico and Texas; south into Mexico; this is among the largest of the Mahonias. Typically a slow growing, large shrub; the largest on record is 26 x 15 feet with a trunk diameter of 8 inches.
The evergreen leaves are composed of 3 to 7 leaflets up to 2 x 1 inches in size. The attractive foliage is gray-green turning to purplish-red in winter.
The fragrant, yellow flowers are borne during early spring. The bright red berries are sweet and edible.
Heat and very drought tolerant, even in Texas. Hardy zones 6 to 10 in full sun on well drained soil.

* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Mahonia x wagneri
A group of very vigorous hybrids between M. aquifolium & M. pinnata. They can reach up to 12 x 6 feet in size with spiny foliage that is blue-green to deep green.
The yellow flowers are borne in late spring. Hardy zones 6 to 10

'Aldenhamensis'
Upright in habit, reaching up to 5 feet in height.
Foliage is bronze when young turning ot blue-green
Flowers are bright yellow.

'Fireflame'
Reaches up to 4 feet in height.
Foliage is blue green above & gray below and turn red in winter.

'King's Random'
Upright in habit to 6 feet. Foliage is glaucous blue tinted purple. Berries are dark blue-black.

'Moseri'
Reaches up to 5 x 4 feet with foliage that is purple at first turning to dark green.
The showy fruit is blue-black.

'Undulata'
to 6 x 6 ( rarely over 5 ) feet.
The glossy wavy edged leaves are bronze at first turning to deep green in summer then to red-purple in winter.
A heavy bloomer with masses of bright yellow flowers.

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