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Leatherleaf Mahonia Berberis bealei

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Mahonia bealei
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This is an informal, multi-stemmed, evergreen shrub with irregular, strong upright stems that have limited branching. It grows up to 10' tall, is upright, and is scarcely branching. Showy but weakly foetid, yellow blooms appear in the late winter. Abundant grape-like fruits appear in late summer. This plant has a tiering habit and cane-like growth. This plant can be planted as a specimen or as a foundation shrub or border. It is drought tolerant and moderately salt-tolerant, but is also considered invasive in the southeast.

The color will bleach out if this shrub is grown in full sun, but does require a few hours of sun per day to flower.   It prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil but tolerates heavy clay. Harsh winds should be avoided. It has very slow growth and is relatively pest free.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Odd pinnately compound, stiff evergreen leaves
  • Leaflets are sessile, spiny, terminal larger than laterals
  • Medium evergreen shrub with tiering habit
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#evergreen#yellow#birds#invasive#partial shade#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#weedy#nectar plant#salt tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#foundation planting#fantz#border
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#evergreen#yellow#birds#invasive#partial shade#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#weedy#nectar plant#salt tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#foundation planting#fantz#border
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    bealei
    Family:
    Berberidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Southern China
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract bees and fruit attracts birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are globose berries that are blue-black in color and less than an inch in size.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are lemon yellow and weakly foetid. Inflorescence is in short, crowded terminal racemes.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate and odd pinnately compound. Leaflets (9-13) are sessile, terminal leaflet is larger than lateral leaflets. Leaflets are spiny-toothed (3-4 teeth per side), bases slightly overlap, are rigid, and are olive-green in color. Leaves are 1-2' long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are roundish, stout, and become gray-brown as they mature.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Weedy