MAHONIA

FLOWERING SHRUB. Evergreen shrubs sometimes listed in catalogues under berberis but which can be distinguished by the spineless stems and the pinnate or compound leaves, I.e. several leaves joined to a common stalk. Mahonia aquifolium or Oregon grape reaches 3 to 4 ft., thriving in sun or shade. It is perfectly happy growing under trees. The rich yellow flowers appear in early spring, followed by blue-black fruits which make a pleasing jelly. The leaves often turn purplish-red in winter. Makes a good 4 ft. hedge, especially in town gardens. The plant often catalogued as Mahonia japonica bealei (the precise name is probably uncertain) is a magnificent shrub to about 9 ft. when well established, with clusters of fragrant lemon-yellow flowers in late winter. It prefers a sheltered position, though quite hardy. Increase both species by seed sown in a cold frame in early autumn.

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