Plant Data Sheet


Dull Oregon Grape Mahonia nervosa/ Berberis nervosa




Southern British Columbia to south through Washington and Oregon to central California, west of Cascade Ranges and Sierra Nevada (1)



Dry to fairly moist (2)



Low to middle elevations, below 2000 meters (1)


Local occurrence

Common in second growth, closed canopies of Douglas Fir forests (1)


Habitat preferences

Understory dominant in montane to submontane coniferous and mixed evergreen forests in the PNW (1)


Plant strategy type/successional stage

Shade tolerant, late successional, yet, can grow in open meadows and recent clearcuts (3)


Associated species

Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), Alaska huckleberry (Vaccinium alaskaense), salal (Gaultheria shallon), pachistima (Pachistima myrsinites), western swordfern (Polystichum munitum), Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), Sadler oak (Quercus sadleriana), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), deerfoot vanillaleaf (Achyls triphylla), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), and vine maple (Acer circinatum) (1)


May be collected as:

Seed, rhizome or stem cuttings (1) or moderate success with root cuttings (3)



Collection restrictions or guidelines

Fruit ripens during July and August, collect fruit in August to September (3)


Seed germination

Cold stratify for six weeks at 4C (3)


Vegetative regeneration

Rhizomatous and gradually expands laterally (3). Layering has also been reported (1). Plants generally sprout from rhizomes or "creeping rootstocks" after aboveground portions of the plant are destroyed (1). Vegetative regeneration appears to be the dominant mode of regeneration after fire or other disturbances (3).


Seed life

Sow immediately or medium storage time (4)


Recommended seed storage conditions

Seeds should be dried and stored in sealed containers slightly above freezing (4)


Propagation recommendations

Propagated by taking heeled, nodal and basal cuttings (3) and by seed and grafting (4)


Soil or medium requirements

Put cuttings in a 2:1 vermiculite:sand mixture in a cold frame (3)


Installation form

Container plants grown from seed or cuttings, outplant after two years (3)


Recommended planting density


Care requirements after installed


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Can grow 12 in (30cm) or more in a year (5)


Sources cited

1)      USDA Forest Service.

2)      Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Redmond, WA.

3)      Rose, R.; Chachulski, C. and Haase, D. 1998. Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.

4)      Young, J. 1992. Seeds of Woody Plants in North America. Dioscorides Press, Portland, OR.

5)      Toogood, A. 1999. Plant Propagation. American Horticultural Society. D.K. Pulblishing Inc., New York, NY.


 Data compiled by: Lizbeth Seebacher, April 14, 2003