Three "Flavors" of our native Oregon Grape
April and May is the time for Oregon Grape shrubs to show off their bright yellow flower clusters. These displays are important nectar sources for our native pollinators...including hummingbirds! In midsummer, dark purple to black berries will adorn these shrubs. Important food for First Nations peoples, and still enjoyed as a sweet treat today by many! We have three species of Oregon Grape here in the northwest: Dull or Low Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa) lies close to the ground, has 15 to 17 leaflets, and has a matte finish to the leaves. Creeping Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens) despite its name grows more upright and has broad leaflets with greatly reduced marginal prickles. Tall or Glossy Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquafolium) does indeed grow tall, with 7 to 11 shiny leaflets. It is the prickliest of the three; but still far less prickly than invasive English Holly (Ilex) which, although superficially similar, always has alternate leaflets compared to Oregon Grape which has opposite leaflets. So enjoy the yellow flowers of spring and then sample the sweet fruits of summer with our Oregon Grape trifecta!
My Naturalist Outing schedule for the week of Earth Day is:
Thursday, April 22nd, Earth Day Owl Prowl in the Arboretum, meet at 8:00 pm.
Friday, April 23rd, Birding By Ear in Discovery Park, meet at 8:30 am.
Hope to see you this week!