Oregon Grape-Holly

These interesting-looking bushes can be found everywhere throughout the Okanagan Valley.


Known as Oregon Grape-Holly, or just Oregon Grape (mahonia aquafolium), they are not related to either grapes or holly.

Native to North America, they extend along the western coast from Mexico all the way to Alaska. They are a great fit for the Okanagan valley as they are very drought resistant and the leaves will remain green very late into the year.

Oregon Grape-Holly explodes in pretty yellow flowers very early in spring, and is a welcome harbinger.

The purple grape-like berries are edible and can be turned into jelly or wine and the holly-like leaves are often used in wreathes. Birds love the berries.

Greetings from the versatile Grape-Holly of the Okanagan Valley, and happy weekend. 🙂

26 thoughts on “Oregon Grape-Holly”

  1. Thanks for sharing about Oregon Grape Holly. Being a mid-westerner (and former southerner), I’ve never seen these. From the photos, they look like blueberries. How cool that they grow wild and you can eat them.
    Have a great weekend, Lynette.

    1. You’re welcome. 🙂
      They do look a lot like blueberries (or saskatoons) but are quite a bit bigger. The bush that I took photos of was full of birds until I came walking up (I didn’t know they were there) and disturbed them. And then a family of little quail came running out from underneath. I felt like a terrible giant invading a peaceful town!

  2. If you think of it in the spring, I’d love to see a photo of the flowers! I’ve seen these, but not up close – I just assumed they were some kind of native grape.

  3. Such a lovely color. I know I’ve seen these growing somewhere before on a previous travel adventure, but I can no longer remember where. It’s really sad how the memory trickles away as we “mature”… 😉

    1. Oh yes. I find it really irritating when a word just drops out, falls into a mineshaft, takes a long walk on a short pier. Yikes. There’s a temporary short circuit between my brain and my mouth.

  4. I have fond childhood memories of “decorating” our pasture barbwire fences with these lovely berries. They sure do stain fingers. 🙂

  5. I made jelly from Oregon grape (berries) one time, and it was surprisingly good. Tart and very tasty. I would have made more another time, but there wasn’t the abundance of them again for several years. I’ll have to keep my eyes open this year and see if I can spot any in enough quantity for making jam. Beautiful pics, Lynette.

    1. Yes, I’ve heard that they make very good jelly. There seemed to be a bumper crop of them this year in Penticton. Maybe you can plant one of them in your yard, but then again, Lincoln would probably eat all the berries. 🙂

  6. Great photos and story, Lynette! You mentioned in your text that they are Mahonia (in latin). We have also Mahonia here in Finland but only planted in gardens. I have never seen so beautiful grapes in it. Have a great last week of August!

  7. The grapes are beautiful. My husband and I were married in Oregon on the coast. A place called Hug Point. The coast in Oregon is so beautiful. Have a blessed day my friend. Love Joni ❤️🤗

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