Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Leatherleaf Mahonia - Mahonia bealei   (Fortune) Carriere
Members of Berberidaceae:
Only member of Mahonia in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Ranunculales » Family Berberidaceae
Author(Fortune) Carriere
DistributionSo far as is documented, lower Piedmont and upper Coastal Plain. However, there are likely many more counties where it has escaped and not been collected.

Native of China; in N.A. found in AL, GA, NC, VA.
AbundanceRare. Plants usually occur in small numbers.
HabitatMoist to seasonally wet, disturbed woodlands near creeks. Though plants tend to occur within woodlands in shade, there do not seem to be cases in NC of this being a problem weed in natural forests.
PhenologyFlowering February-March, fruiting March-April.
IdentificationMahonia bealei is easy to identify, due to its erect thick stem with horizontal evergreen, compound leaves 1-1.5 feet long and which are divided into 2-4 pairs of thick leaflets (plus a terminal one). Leaflets have several spine-tipped lobes and look quite like an evergreen holly (Ilex). Fruits are ellipsoid, pale gray-green when young and dark blue when ripe.
Taxonomic CommentsAlso treated as Berberis bealei.

Other Common Name(s)Oregon Grape
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieMoore County, moist woodland just N of Little River, Niagara-Carthage Road. With Nandina domestica. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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