Berberis aquifolium

Oregon grape

Plant Type: Shrub
Sun: Partial Shade, Shade, Sun
Drainage: Adaptable
Water: Occasional, Regular
Height X Width: 6' X 4'
Santa Clara County Local: Yes
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This widespread shrub is so common that it is easy to overlook its many qualities. Native to much of North America, Oregon grape appreciates areas of higher rainfall and cooler winter temperatures. In Santa Clara County it is found occasionally in higher, shady sites in both the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. It grows as an upright shrub to six feet or so, with compound leaves with blue-green, shiny leaflets with spiny margins. As the year progresses some leaves will turn yellow, orange and red. Bunches of fragrant yellow flowers appear in spring which yield clusters of deep purple berries. Oregon grape is an excellent plant for wildlife support since it offers a protective thicket and berries for birds, and a generous bloom for pollinators. It is quite adaptable to varied growing conditions, but does seem to appreciate a little summer water and afternoon shade.


Deer Resistant: Yes
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: Yes
Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen