Habit: slow growing upright evergreen shrub spreading by rhizomes more than it grows tall. The holly-like compound leaves are comprised of 5-7 leaflets and are round to oval with spiny teeth. The upper surfaces appear matte finished while the undersides are shiny. The inflorescence (flower cluster) is shorter than other Mahonia, although they are still made up of many yellow fragrant flowers. Like the other Mahonia some leaves turn mauve, rose, and rust-colored in winter.
Ecology: found in many states usually in canyons and dry woodlands, at elevations between 980-7200 ft (300-2200 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to full shade with well-drained moist acidic soil rich in organic matter, has the ability to be drought tolerant once established.
Berries have been used to make jellies and wine, a difficult process since the berries are very sour. The yellow spring blooms attract pollinators and its berries attract birds. It is an excellent ground cover or foundation plant.
Always seek advice from a professional before consuming or using a plant medicinally.