Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.

Fully hardy suckering shrub with bright green, holly-like pinnate leaves, each with up to 9 ovate, spiny leaflets, sometimes turning red in autumn, and dense, terminal racemes of yellow flowers in spring followed by blue-black berries.  To 1m.  [RHSE, Hilliers’, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1823.  [JD].  Pursh pl.4/1814.

History at Camden Park

Recorded in a hand written entry in an 1850 catalogue held at the Mitchell Library, inscribed on the front Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  It had previously been marked with a ‘c’, denoting grown at Camden, in an 1836 Loddiges’ catalogue held in the Camden Park archives.  This suggests that it was actually grown in the gardens well before 1854.  [CPA].


Published Feb 26, 2009 - 05:14 PM | Last updated Jul 14, 2010 - 05:12 PM

Illustrated are the holly-like leaves and dense, terminal racemes of yellow flowers.  Pursh pl.4, 1814.

Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. | Pursh pl.4/1814 | HAAB

Family Berberidaceae
Region of origin

North America

  • Mahonia murrayana Hort. ex Dippel
  • Berberis aquifolium Pursh
  • Odostemon aquifolium (Pursh) Rydh.
Common Name

Oregon grape, Mountain holly

Name in the Camden Park Record

Berberis aquifolia 

Confidence level high