|Mahonia aquifolium is a slow growing evergreen shrub with upright stems, forming colonies through its creeping rhizomes. Height generally 3-6 inches, up to 9 feet, with a 3-5 feet spread. Two forms seem to exist, one is upright and open, the other more rounded, dense and broad. The foliage is glossy, with serrated holly-like leaves, turning purple-bronze in fall. The flowers are bright yellow, borne on 2-3 inches terminal racemes, mildly fragrant, appearing in mid spring. The fruit is a small dark purple-blue berry, appearing in fall. Traditional food of Northwest Native peoples. Prefers fertile, moist, acidic soil and shade. Will develop chlorosis in high pH soils. Can contract leaf rusts, leaf spots, barberry aphid, scale and whitefly, although healthy plants are usually trouble free. In hot sun may get leaf scorch. Great shade plant, in border, or foundation plantings, or as specimen. Native from British Columbia to Oregon, introduced 1823.