Also Known As
Mahonia repens, Oregon grape
Creeping Barberry (also known as Oregon grape) is an evergreen shrub with holly-like spiny leaves, yellow flowers and fruits that resemble small grapes.
Creeping barberry is adapted to habitats that have regular wildfires. It regenerates after a fire when dormant buds sprout from the surface of the underground rhizomes.
Did You Know?
In the last few year the scientific name of Creeping barberry and Oregon grape was changed from Mahonia repens to Berberis repens. The genus "Mahonia" is no longer in common usage.
Leaves are variable, pinnately compound, with 5 to 7 leaflets, each 0.75 to 2.75 in (2 to 7 cm) long. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem, attached by 0.4 to 2.4 in (1 to 6 cm) petioles. Each leaf is made up of 3 to 11 round to elongated leaflets with spine-toothed margins.
Flowers are borne in branched clusters at the sides or tips of branches. Each flower has 9 sepals (petal-like structures) produced in 3 tiers and 6 petals produced in two tiers of three petals each. The flowers develop into spherical to elliptical, purple-black berries in grape-like clusters. Generally flowers from April to June.
On young trees, the bark is smooth, but it develops ridges and furrows in older trees. Young twigs are covered with a waxy coating that appears shiny and green to purple in color.
Oregon grape favors hills, dry slopes, and canyons in coniferous forest, oak woodland, and chaparral, often in partial shade. It is found throughout the western United States and also in scattered locations in the east.