Oregon Grape is a tall evergreen plant with pairs of spiny leaves growing from stems that can be up to 60 centimetres long. The leaves turn purple and red in the winter. It has bright yellow flowers and blue berries.
RANGE & HABITAT
Oregon grape is found from southwest B.C. and Vancouver Island all the way to northern California. It likes both dry and moist areas and is often found growing under douglas fir trees. In B.C. this plant is found in the Georgia Depression ecoprovince.
The yellow flowers appear in early spring and ripen into blue berries that look like they are covered in a white powder.
Birds, bears and other small mammals love the berries, and deer and other herbivores graze on the spiny leaves.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The berries are eaten alone or mixed with a sweeter berry like Salal. The bark of the stems and roots can be shredded to make a bright yellow dye, and the bark and berries are used for medicine for the liver and eyes.
The berries are used to make jelly and some folks make wine from them too.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Nikko Snow