E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt.
dull Oregon-grape (Cascade barberry)
Berberidaceae (Barberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Lydia Dani  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #79570)

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Distribution of Mahonia nervosa
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Species Information

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Evergreen shrub from a rhizome; stems branched, erect, 10-60 cm tall, leafy; bark and wood yellowish.
Evergreen, hollylike, turning reddish in the fall, alternate, pinnate; leaflets 9-19, palmately nerved, with spiny teeth.
Inflorescence of clustered racemes up to 20 cm long; flowers yellow, the segments in 6's.
Clustered berries 8-11 mm in diameter, blue, glaucous, with a few large seeds, edible.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Blue
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry open slopes and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in SW BC, infrequent eastward in S BC; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Mahonia nervosa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 369 1470
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 240
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 220 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(196), CWH(823), ESSF(5), ICH(45), IDF(81), MS(2), PP(3), SBS(14)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Pacific North American evergreen shrub. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing precipitation, elevation, and continentality. Scatered to abundant, occasion­ally dominant, in the understory of semi-open forests (persists on cutover sites) on water-shedding sites. Inhabits coarse-skeletal soils. Commonly associated with Gaultheria shallon, Kindbergia oregana, and Polystichum munitum. Characteristic of mesothermal forests.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Berberis nervosa Pursh
Berberis nervosa var. mendocinensis J.B. Roof
Mahonia nervosa var. mendocinensis (J.B. Roof) J.B. Roof
Odostemon nervosus (Pursh) Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References