Magonia Holly - Oregon Grape
Magonia Holly - Oregon Grape

Video: Magonia Holly - Oregon Grape

Video: Magonia Holly - Oregon Grape
Video: Mahonia (Oregon Grape): Easy-to-grow edible plant has MANY uses 2023, March
Mahonia holly
Mahonia holly

A beautiful ornamental shrub that yields delicious fruits This is the name in North America for an amazing evergreen shrub with large glossy leaves and lush inflorescences of yellow fragrant flowers that turn into clusters of blue edible berries in August.

The botanical name for this plant is Mahonia aquifolium. It comes from North America, where on the Columbia River in 1806 it was first discovered and described by an American gardener of Irish origin, author of the first American garden calendar, Bernard MacMahon, after whom it later received its generic name.

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Mahonia holly - a shrub from the family of barberry (Berberaceae) with reclining branches up to 150 cm long, rising above the ground by 50-100 cm. The uniqueness of Mahonia is that its large (up to 20 cm in size) leathery leaves, consisting of 5-9 leaves with sharp teeth at the edges, do not fall off in the winter, which makes the plant decorative all year round.

Especially when you consider that on the eve of winter, with a decrease in daylight hours and frost, the leaves turn purple. But Mahonia is most attractive in spring, when for 3-4 weeks it is covered with large inflorescences of yellow fragrant flowers, similar to lily of the valley. Therefore, it is also called the lily of the valley tree.

And since August, it has been decorated with dense clusters of blue oval berries 1 cm long with a waxy bloom, similar to small dark grapes, which is why it got its one more name - Oregon grape (Oregon-grape). By the way, the flower of Mahonia is a "state flower", i.e. the symbol of the state of Oregon, located in the northwestern United States.

Immigrants from Europe liked this unusual plant so much that Mahonia holly soon after its discovery was brought to Europe in 1822. Here it, as an ornamental shrub, is widely used to this day in landscaping parks, squares, alleys, street lawns in curbs, low hedges, specimen plantings.

It is especially common on the streets of German cities. In Russia, Mahonia holly has been grown in botanical gardens since the middle of the 19th century. The manual of R. I. Schroeder's "Russian vegetable garden, nursery, orchard", first published in 1877, it is said about her: "One of the most adorable, moreover, hardy, always green low-growing shrubs from North America."

Unlike Europeans, who appreciated only the decorative qualities of holly Mahonia, Americans worship it both as a berry and as a medicinal crop; it is grown on plantations, for example, in Missouri (in the coat of arms of this state, a branch of Mahonia in the paw of an eagle). Juicy berries of Mahonia holly are edible, they have a pleasant sweet-sour, slightly tart taste. Contains vitamin C, sugars, organic acids, pectin, tannins and P-active substances.

Raw berries are used little, since each contains 3-4 large seeds. But in processing they are great. Mahonia berries make excellent juices, syrups, jelly, compotes, jams, tinctures, and wine. Any drinks (including alcoholic ones) are colored by its juice in a delicious ruby-red color.

Mahonia's nutrients are present not only in berries, but literally in all parts of the plant: roots, bark, leaves. They contain berberine, berbaline, hydrastine - biologically active substances with antibacterial, antioxidant, choleretic, diuretic and laxative effects.

Long before the arrival of the settlers, North American Indians used Mahonia to prepare a tonic tea, restoring strength in case of fatigue, they drank it for colds, disorders of the stomach, kidneys, liver, and was used for washing for various skin diseases.

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Mahonia holly
Mahonia holly

Currently, Mahonia preparations are undergoing clinical trials in laboratories around the world. Recently, Australian scientists have discovered that they are highly effective in treating diabetes. Recent studies have established their ability to block the development of tumors.

This useful and ornamental shrub, frost-resistant and unpretentious, was appreciated by gardeners and grows holly Mahonia in their plots. It grows well in ordinary garden loamy soil with moderate acidity. Prefers sunny areas, but tolerates partial shade. There are no increased requirements for soil moisture, does not like both waterlogging and excessive dryness. Winter hardiness is high - in Siberia it tolerates forty-degree frosts under a snow cover without special shelter.

I have never frozen, but I read that if it suffers in the winter, it quickly recovers. They also write that she tolerates a haircut well. I have not tried it, but I believe it. But what I don't believe is the statements of some reference books that Mahonia bears fruit only with cross-pollination. For a long time I had only one bush, but it bore great fruit. They also write that the Mahonia bush lives for more than 70 years. It will not be possible to check, it remains to believe.

Mahonia is propagated by holly layering (often twigs lying on the ground take root), cuttings, seeds. Seeds are sown before winter, or in spring, after two months of stratification at a temperature of about 0 ° C. It is better to grow seedlings in the shade and cover them with spruce branches for the winter. In the spring, transplant to a permanent place in pits 50x50x50 cm with fertile soil with a distance of 1 meter between bushes. Plants grown from seeds bloom in the third year.

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