Image for Holly Leaved Barberry

Holly Leaved Barberry

Scientific name

Mahonia aquifolium


Holly Leaved Barberry is an evergreen shrub species that typically grows between 0.5 to 2 m in height. This plant may also be known by the common name Tall Oregon Grape. The leaves are alternately arranged, shiny dark green colored, pinnately compound with 5 - 11 leaflets, have sharply toothed margins, and resemble Holly plants, hence the common name. The flowers are small, yellow colored, fragrant, appear in large clusters, and bloom between March and April. The flowers turn into clusters of shiny blue berries and resemble grapes. The fruits are edible to humans but may be very sour if consumed raw and have large seeds. The food and habitat provided by this shrub are beneficial to many wildlife species, including birds and mammals. The flowers are beneficial to pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies. This shrub can spread well into large colonies and is valuable for re-vegetating open areas. Fruit production is poor without multiple individuals.

Planting conditions

Holly Leaved Barberry grows best in normal to moist conditions with shade to partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic, organically rich loam soil types. It is intolerant of full sun, alkaline soil, and strong winds. This shrub can be naturally found on dry slopes, rocky ridges, in coniferous forests, and around forest edges.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 0.5-2 m
  • Spread:
    • 2 m