15 July 2019

A Sprig Of Mahonia

3585The Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium, is the state flower of Oregon. It's not a grape at all, of course, but a berry. This is how they grow them out in Happy Valley:

It's a shrub. The leaves are not unlike holly leaves, stiff and waxy and prickly along the edges. The berries are that beautiful dark blue color, and are edible but not really palatable, unless you like the tartness unless you do something with them. Wikipedia tells me that pre-colonization natives in these parts used to offset the tartness with a sweeter salal. I am also told that you can make preserves with it, either mixed with salal or on its own, and you can make a wine with them, though you have to use rather more sugar to get it to ferment.

We plan on having these in our yard one day soon. They're drought resistant, grow in poor soil, and the berries attract birds.

In Salem, Mahonia is used as foliage, as hardy evergreen bushes in home landscaping, and to grow governor's mansions.

No comments: