Creeping Oregon Grape

Mahonia repens

Mahonia Repens (AKA Creeping Oregon Grape)


Commonly called creeping Oregon grape, Mahonia repens is an example of all-season landscape beauty. Mahonia features dark green, leathery, evergreen leaves similar to the spiny leaves of holly. The leaves turn a wine-red color in winter adding interest to an often bare landscape, especially in contrast to snow. In spring, small racemes of bright yellow flowers appear above the leaves. The blooms give way to clusters of small frosty-looking blue-black berries in late summer. 


Reaching a height of 12 inches, this North American native shrub spreads by underground stems and can be grown as a small shrub grouping or as a largescale ground cover and grown on slopes, it can be used to control erosion. It grows best in full sun to part shade and, once established, tolerates semi-dry conditions. 


The plant’s small, tart berries are edible and have been used to make jelly.


Creeping Oregon grape can be viewed in Mizzou Botanic Garden on the east side of the Student Recreation Center.

Mahonia Repens (AKA, Creeping Oregon Grape)

Story and photos by Jan Wiese-Fales.