Mahonia nervosa

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Dull Oregon-grape
Mahonia nervosa 5003.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Mahonia
M. nervosa
Binomial name
Mahonia nervosa
  • Berberis nervosa Pursh
  • Berberis nervosa var. mendocinensis Roof [1]
  • Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinensis (Roof) Roof[2]

Mahonia nervosa, commonly known as dwarf Oregon-grape, Cascade barberry, Cascade Oregon-grape, or dull Oregon-grape, is a flowering plant native to the northwest coast of North America from southern British Columbia south to central California, with an isolated population inland in northern Idaho.[4][5][6] It is especially common in second growth, Douglas-fir[7] or western redcedar forests, making use of those pools of sunlight that intermittently reach the ground.

Some authors place the entire genus Mahonia within the genus Berberis.[8][9][10]

The plant was collected by Lewis and Clark during their famous expedition to the West before being described for science in 1813.[11][12]


Lower surface of leaf, palmately nerved with 3 to 8 veins

It is an evergreen shrub with short vertical stems, mostly under 30 cm (12 in), while the leaves reach higher, rarely up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) tall. The leaves are compound, with 9–19 leaflets; each leaflet is strongly toothed, reminiscent of holly, and somewhat shiny, but less so than tall Oregon-grape. The leaflets do not have a single central vein as in that species, but several veins arranged fan-like, branched from the leaflet base, hence the epithet nervosa. The flowers and fruit are like those of other Oregon-grapes, and are equally bitter-tasting.


Some Plateau Indian tribes drank an infusion of the root to treat rheumatism.[13]


  1. ^ Roof, James B. Four Seasons 3(1): 8–10, f. s.n. [p. 9, upper right]. 1969.
  2. ^ Roof, James B. Changing Seasons 1(3, Suppl.): 14. 1981.
  3. ^ Tropicos
  4. ^ Hickman, J. C. 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California 1–1400. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  5. ^ Munz, P. A. & D. D. Keck. 1959. California Flora 1–1681. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  6. ^ Hitchcock, C. H., A.J. Cronquist, F. M. Ownbey & J. W. Thompson. 1984. Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Part II: 1–597. In C. L. Hitchcock et al. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
  7. ^ Pojar, Jim; MacKinnon, Andy, eds. (1994). Plants of Coastal British Columbia: including Washington, Oregon & Alaska, rev. ed. Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-55105-532-9.
  8. ^ Loconte, H., & J. R. Estes. 1989. Phylogenetic systematics of Berberidaceae and Ranunculales (Magnoliidae). Systematic Botany 14:565–579.
  9. ^ Marroquín, Jorge S., & Joseph E. Laferrière. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 30(1):53–55.
  10. ^ Laferrière, Joseph E. 1997. Transfer of specific and infraspecific taxa from Mahonia to Berberis. Bot. Zhurn. 82(9):96–99.
  11. ^ Fl. Amer. Sept. (Pursh) 219. 1814 [Dec. 1813]. Collectors: M.Lewis, W.Clark s.n. "Plant Name Details for Berberis nervosa". IPNI. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  12. ^ "Mahonia nervosa". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  13. ^ Hunn, Eugene S. (1990). Nch'i-Wana, "The Big River": Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. University of Washington Press. p. 352. ISBN 0-295-97119-3.

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