Mahonia is a genus of evergreen shrub made up of approximately 70 different species. The genus belongs to the Berberidaceae family. Species of this plant genus range greatly from Asia, the Himalaya, North America and Central America. Conflicting opinions on the “Mahonia” classification exist because several plants in this genus are able to hybridize with plants in the genus Berberis.

Bernard McMahon, a Philadelphia horticulturist, took materials from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and introduced the plant genus. Its name “Mahonia” honors his discovery.

Typically shrubs in the Mahonia genus have large leaves that could grow anywhere from 3.9 to 19.7 inches long. Its leaves are pinnate or feathered. Leaves typically produce leaflets and flowers.

Many plants found in the Mahonia genus are popular with gardeners and landscape designers. The plants will typically produce aestetically pleasing spiny, evergreen foliage. Springtime flowers bloom on these plants and black or blue berries can be found in autumn and winter. Mahonia berries are edible and can be used for medicinal or ceremonial purposes as well. Its attractive flowers appear throughout the shrub in clusters or separately on stalks.

Image Caption: Mahonia golden abundance fruit. Credit: Cliff Hutson/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)