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Berberis ilicina

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Mahonia ilicina
Phonetic Spelling
BER-ber-is il-icina
Description

Grapeholly is an upright evergreen shrub in the barberry family typically found in northeastern Mexico. It is a slow-growing, drought tolerant plant with a tendency to spread through suckers and form  colonies. This plant has incredibly long racemes of beautiful, fragrant, creamy yellow flowers that provide winter interest and will do well in the landscape planted in the back of a border. The leaves are glossy and shiny like a holly and turn purplish-bronze in the winter.

Grapeholly grows best in light shade, but does require a few hours of sun each day to flower. It also dislikes summer heat. It is best planted in small groups in shade or woodland gardens. It does not like highly alkaline soils and will become chlorotic in high pH soils and desiccating winds.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and other Plant Problems:

This plant has known pest problems.

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#yellow flowers#winter interest#cream flowers#evergreen shrub#border back#bird friendly#winter flowers#shrub borders#perennial
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#yellow flowers#winter interest#cream flowers#evergreen shrub#border back#bird friendly#winter flowers#shrub borders#perennial
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    ilicina
    Family:
    Berberis
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northeastern Mexico
    Distribution:
    Endemic to northeastern Mexico in the states of Hidalgo and Tamaulipas.
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the fruit.
    Edibility:
    Not poisonous, but berries contain berberine that can cause stomach upset, especially with children.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Rows of grape-like, blue-black, berry fruits appear in the summer on the branches that may persist through December.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Very long racemes 2 to 3 feet long that branch out with creamy, 6-petaled flowers that have yellow centers and appear in the winter and remain on the plant for a long bloom season.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Stiff spiky leathery pinnately compound leaves with 9-11 leaflets.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought