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Mahonia japonica - (Thunb.)DC.

Common Name
Family Berberidaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Damp woodlands in upland areas[147, 200]. Not found in a truly wild situation, this species is possibly only a cultigen.
Range E. Asia - China, Taiwan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Mahonia japonica


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Mahonia japonica
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Mahonia japonica is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Feb to April, and the seeds ripen from Apr to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. An acid flavour, but it is rather nice raw especially when added to muesli or porridge[K]. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds[K]. The ovoid fruit is about 9mm long[200], it ripens in spring and crops can be quite good if the plant is in a sheltered position[K]. The fruit is produced in large clusters and so is easy to harvest[K].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Antirheumatic;  Antitumor;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Depurative;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  
Tonic.

The leaf is febrifuge and is used as a tonic in cases of cancer[218]. The seed is febrifuge and tonic[218]. The roots and stems are antirheumatic, antitussive, depurative, expectorant and febrifuge[147, 218]. A decoction is used in the treatment of bone-breaking fevers, dizziness and tinnitus, backache, weak knees, dysentery and enteritis[147]. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn[213]. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects[218] and is used as a bitter tonic[213]. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery[218]. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine[218]. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity[218].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

An easily grown shrub, it thrives in any good garden soil[11] including heavy clays. Prefers a semi-shaded woodland position in a damp, slightly acid to neutral humus-rich soil[200]. Survives under very heavy tree shade[184]. Succeeds in poor soils when the leaves will often become bright red, especially if the plant is in full sun. The fully dormant plant is hardy to about -20°c[184], though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back into old wood if they have outgrown their welcome[182]. This species is closely related to M. bealei[11, 200]. It hybridizes freely with other members of the genus. The flowers have a delicious perfume[245]. The form 'Hiemalis' bears larger flower spikes which are almost as strongly scented as Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)[245].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It usually germinates in the spring[K]. 'Green' seed (harvested when the embryo has fully developed but before the seed case has dried) should be sown as soon as it is harvested and germinates within 6 weeks[K]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in late winter or spring. 3 weeks cold stratification will improve its germination, which should take place in 3 - 6 months at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division of suckers in spring[78]. Whilst they can be placed direct into their permanent positions, better results are achieved if they are potted up and placed in a frame until established[11]. Leaf cuttings in the autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Mahonia aquifoliumOregon Grape, Hollyleaved barberry, Oregon Holly Grape, Oregon Holly33
Mahonia bealeiBeale's barberry, Leatherleaf Mahonia32
Mahonia confusa 32
Mahonia flavida 20
Mahonia fortuneiFortune's Mahonia32
Mahonia fremontiiMahonia, Fremont's mahonia32
Mahonia ganpinensis 12
Mahonia gracilipes 22
Mahonia gracilisMexican Barberry20
Mahonia haematocarpaMexican Barberry, Red barberry32
Mahonia lomariifoliaChinese hollygrape32
Mahonia napaulensis 32
Mahonia nervosaOregon Grape, Cascade barberry32
Mahonia neviniiNevin's barberry32
Mahonia pinnataCalifornia Barberry, Wavyleaf barberry, Island barberry, Creeping Holly Grape32
Mahonia pumilaDwarf Barberry32
Mahonia repensCreeping Oregon Grape, Creeping barberry, Grape Oregon33
Mahonia swaseyiTexas Mahonia, Texas barberry32
Mahonia trifoliolataMexican Barberry, Algerita32
Mahonia x media 32

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Thunb.)DC.

Botanical References

11200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Unknown Horticulturist   Thu Oct 7 19:10:27 2004

this site is no where near complete, it is missing info on the shurb's shape, stem/twig colour, leaf arrangements, leaf shape, general leaf colour, drought/salt tolerance, the shrubs pests and diseases, the shrubs life expectancy, the common name(s) the fully matured shrub's hieght and spread if left un pruned, the crown shape, the growth rate, and leaf texture. this information properly displayed would make this site so much more accessable and disarable to everyone from the amature gardener to the hardened horticulturist doing research.

Danica Finitz   Tue Sep 4 2007

This is a great and informative page and if in adicion it had links as to where to purchese this great and verry usefull plant it would be perfect. Should you have that information please E-mail me back at below E-mail adress. Thank you in advance Regardes Danica

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