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Video: Mahonia Holly
Mahonia, an ornamental plant producing edible fruits
In recent years, an evergreen shrub from the Barberry family - Mahonia holly, or Oregon grapes, has been of increasing interest among gardeners and landscape designers, which is not surprising at all, because this ornamental plant retains its attractiveness almost all year round.
Mahonia aquifolium Nutt. - exotic from North America - evergreen deciduous shrub, up to 1.5 meters high. This shrub owes its official name "Mahonia" to the American gardener MacMahon. In culture in our country, it can grow from Arkhangelsk to the Black Sea coast. The crown of Mahonia is well formed, but quickly loses its shape due to the formation of underground shoots.
The bark of this plant is brown. The leaves are shiny, leathery, compound, odd-pinnate, toothed, equipped with teeth at the ends, making them very reminiscent of holly foliage. Young they are reddish-green, in summer they are dark green, in autumn and winter they are greenish-reddish-bronze. In the spring, without falling, the leaves turn green again.
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studios Lemon-yellow flowers of Mahonia holly are numerous, beautiful and fragrant. It is noteworthy that in shape and aroma they are very similar to lilies of the valley. Collected flowers in a brush up to 10 cm in size. Mahonia blooms in late May - early June, about a month, sometimes blooms again in autumn.
The fruits of Mahonia are round, about 1 cm in diameter, weighing 0.5 g, bluish-blue with a waxy coating, edible, sweet and sour, tart, with red juice, ordinary taste, outwardly very similar to the fruits of dark grapes. Apparently, this is where its second name came from - Oregon grapes. Fruits ripen in August-September, yield - up to 2 kg per bush. You can grind them with sugar, prepare juice, jelly, preserves, jam, and other products. But the main thing is that they are an excellent food coloring; they can be added to any other fruit and berry preparations that have a pale color.
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However, the main value of holly mahonia is decorative: it is good in group and specimen plantings, hedges, borders, rock gardens. She does not have varieties, but there are garden forms: variegated - Variegata, golden - Aurea, long-leaved - Gracillis.
It is gas- and smoke-resistant, shade-tolerant, but hardly blooms in the shade. Loves moist, humus-rich loamy soils. It is frost and winter hardy, does not need shelter, it winters well under the snow. But in severe winters with little snow, shoots can be damaged. However, in the spring, the crown quickly recovers.
Mahonia holly is resistant to diseases and pests. It does not require special trimming. Propagated by seeds, root suckers, layering, grafting, green and lignified cuttings. Seeds are best sown in the fall. Spring sowing - only after stratification. The emerging seedlings are shaded. In autumn, the seedlings are mulched and covered with spruce branches. Mahonia is transplanted in the spring with a lump of earth, without cutting off either the roots or the crown. They are cut in early spring or autumn, the percentage of rooting of cuttings is high. When planting Mahonia holly leaves the distance between the bushes - 1 m, the pits for this are prepared with dimensions of 40x40x40 cm.After planting, the plants are watered and mulched.
Vladimir Starostin, dendrologist, candidate of agricultural sciences
Photo by the author and Olga Rubtsova