Creeping Mahonia, Mahonia repens

Mahonia repens is a species of plant in the Berberidaceae family. The plant may also be referred to as the Creeping mahonia, the Creeping Oregon grape, the Creeping barberry or the Prostrate barberry. This species is found in the Rocky Mountains and western areas of North America. Specifically you can find the Mahonia repens ranging from British Columbia and Alberta through Arizona and New Mexico and throughout areas of northern Mexico, California and Nevada. The species is found at elevations from 980 feet to 7,200 feet.

Mahonia repens grows as a shrub. The plant produces berries in a matte blue color in the summer season and the springtime brings yellow flowers to the shrub. The plant’s leaves turn a bronze color in the fall season even though it is considered an evergreen plant.

The berries produced by the Mahonia repens are edible and used in making jelly. Native American tribes have been known to use the plants parts for medicinal, ceremonial and food sources. The plant has a wooden stem that some tribes would use to produce yellow dye.

Mahonia repens are often used in natural landscaping and wildlife gardens. The species is fairly drought tolerant and prefers shaded habitats. It also survives frost and hot or cold climates providing a low maintenance choice for gardeners.

Image Caption: Creeping Mahonia (Mahonia repen). Credit: Stephen Lea/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)