Low Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa)
Low Oregon Grape’s leathery leaves dapple the shady nooks of forests stretching from the Pacific Coast to the foothills of the Cascades. This evergreen shrub is the smaller cousin of Tall Oregon Grape, offering the same glossy, serrated foliage and canary-yellow blooms, but in a smaller package.
Mahonia nervosa is excellent for creating low barriers and provides a hearty native substitute to the European transplant English Holly. This versatile shrub can tolerate both dry and moist soil so long as it’s nestled in partial to full shade. It spreads through rhizomes and can be planted either as a single accent in the canvas of your landscape or in bunches. With the long days of August come, Low Oregon Grape’s tart purple fruits, which were once a part of the traditional diet of the original peoples of the region. Today, they are primarily used to make wines and jellies. This native shrub also provides valuable habitat for small mammals and birds, and its nectar is a treat for local hummingbirds.
Caroline Boschetto, AmeriCorps Projects Coordinator, Community Agriculture Engagement