Leatherleaf Mahonia – Mahonia bealei

Leatherleaf Mahonia
Leatherleaf Mahonia

This native of China is a slow grower who is very tolerant of shade. In the winter it puts out yellow flowers above the dark green pinnately compound leaves. This evergreen follows the flowers with clusters of berries that start green and shade through to dark purple.

Herbal medicine in China has used this bush for treatment of fever, gastritis, and liver problems. The root when dried can be mixed in warm drinks or boiled so that the decoction can be consumed. It has cooling properties that lower body temperature in humans.

In the south this has become an invasive species. If growing in the home garden you may find volunteers growing near the adult plants. It easily propagates from seed or cutting, with no special treatment done to the seeds if they are planted fresh.

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