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Creeping Mahonia Berberis repens

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Creeping Mahonia:

Previously known as:

  • Mahonia repens
Phonetic Spelling
BER-ber-is reh-PENZ
Description

This is a broadleaf evergreen that is often used as a ground cover due to its height and spread. It spreads by stolons, long thin slightly underground or overground stems, parallel to the ground. New shoots arise along the stems. Flowers occur on the new upright additions to the stems.   

The center of the plant is sometimes open which may reduce its attractiveness. As a ground cover, however, it can be an effective erosion control on hillsides due to its rooting and matting tendencies. It may need to be planted in a protected area away from harsh or drying winter sun and wind. It should not be planted an overly dry location but once established it can tolerate periods of drought.

In April or early spring flowers attract many pollinators. The yellow clusters of flowers have a lightly fragrant scent. In late summer the flowers transition to dark edible, though sour tasting, berries that are attractive to birds and other wildlife. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#winter interest#showy fruits#small mammals#prickly#blue fruits#edible fruits#pollinator plant#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source summer#cover year-round#evergreen groundcover#blue green foliage#nectar plant spring#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#winter interest#showy fruits#small mammals#prickly#blue fruits#edible fruits#pollinator plant#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source summer#cover year-round#evergreen groundcover#blue green foliage#nectar plant spring#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    repens
    Family:
    Berberidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western Canada to Western & Central U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinators visit the flowers. Birds and small mammals are attracted to fruits. The plant provides year-round cover
    Edibility:
    Edible fruits though they are sour.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Blackish blue berries arise from the flowers in late summer. The berries are often in a grape-like arrangement, hence one of its common names of Creeping h. Birds like the berries and they are edible for humans but can be quite sour in taste. One use is for jellies.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are oval, similar to holly leaves with spines, 1-2 inches in length. The leaves are compond pinnate, meaning that a stem holds several, 3-7, leaflets on each side which makes up one compound leaf. Leaves feel dull and leathery, again like hollies. There are multiple spiny teeth on the sides of the leaflets. Leaf color is bluish-green in summer and a purplish shade in winter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought