Scientific Name Mahonia bealei
Common Name Leatherleaf Mahonia
Hardiness Zone 6 to 9
Size 6 to 10' tall - usually seen smaller
Growth Rate Moderate
Exposure Shade to part shade - needs a little sun to flower - more sun below zone 8
Group Shrub - Evergreen
Characteristics Alternate, compound leaves, leathery, tough texture with horizontal layering. 18" long with 9 to 13 leaflets which are holly-like and very stiff and opposite. Very dark green.
Landscape Uses Upright, loose clump, coarse texture.
Dense clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers in February and March.
Bluish-black to purple berries in early Summer.
Can be pruned to a single stem specimen.
History Native to China.
Once thought to be a form of Japanese Mahonia (M. japonica).
The genus Mahonia has approx. 70 species and is named for Bernard McMahon, a 19th century horticulturalist.
Part of the Berberidaceae (Barberry) family.

Leaf and flower

Photo credit: Dean Bennett
Director of Horticulture and Turfgrass Management Programs
Brunswick Community College