Berberis aquifolium - Pursh
Piper's Oregon-grape
Other English Common Names: Hollyleaf Barberry
Other Common Names: hollyleaved barberry
Synonym(s): Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. (TSN 195030)
French Common Names: mahonia feuilles de houx
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136078
Element Code: PDBER06020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Barberry Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Berberidaceae Berberis
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Mahonia aquifolium
Taxonomic Comments: Classified in the genus Mahonia by Kartesz (1994) and many other sources; also sometimes treated in the genus Berberis as B. aquifolium. LEM 20Aug01.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Jul2015
Global Status Last Changed: 07May1991
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Mahonia aquifolium (= Berberis aquifolium) is native and relatively common in western North America, from Alberta south through California into northern Mexico. Roots, stem, and leaves of this species are wild-collected for medicinal use and are traded in the medicinal, herbal, and landscaping markets. M. aquifolium is reportedly used as a substitute for an herb that is heavily commercially traded. It is also the preferred species in this genus for commercial collection due to its large root size. This species may be threatened over time by increased interest in its medicinal properties if wild-collection is not monitored.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (13Jul2015)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNR), District of Columbia (SNA), Idaho (SNR), Kentucky (SNR), Louisiana (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Montana (SNR), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), Oregon (SNR), Washington (SNR)
Canada Alberta (SNR), British Columbia (S5), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Mahonia aquifolium has two divergent ranges in North America; Alberta south through California and northern Mexico and Ontario south through Kentucky. It is native in Alberta south through California, but an escaped landscaping plant in the eastern portion of the U.S. and Canadian range.

Population Size Comments: Reportedly common in the U.S. Pacific Northwest region and in California (CALFLORA). There are few estimates of abundance in the eastern U.S. and Canada, since this species is reportedly exotic in Michigan, Ontario, New York, New Jersey, District of Columbia, and Louisiana.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Mahonia species are reportedly used as a substitute for goldenseal (Tilford 1998). Some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that trade is medium to large and demand has increased over the past ten years (Robbins 1999). According to Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, current demand is relatively modest. But increased interest is possible. Therefore, trends in commercial interest and collecting activities should continue to be monitored even though it is relatively common in its native range. This species is traded in the medicinal, herbal, and landscaping markets (Vance et al. in press). Mahonia aquifolium is the preferred species in this genus for commercial collection due to large root size (Vance et al. in press). See Vance et al. (in press) for suggested guidelines for sustainable harvesting techniques.

Short-term Trend Comments: Increasing interest in medicinal properties and applications of this plant may contribute to population decline over time. Apparently relatively stable; no population inventories reporting major decline; however some experts in the medicinal plant industry have suggested that population and species have declined over the past ten years (Robbins 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Mahonia aquifolium has two divergent ranges in North America; Alberta south through California and northern Mexico and Ontario south through Kentucky. It is native in Alberta south through California, but an escaped landscaping plant in the eastern portion of the U.S. and Canadian range.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, DCexotic, ID, KY, LAexotic, MIexotic, MT, NJexotic, NYexotic, OR, WA
Canada AB, BC, ONexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers and blue berries in clusters. Stems are erect with stiff, glossy leaves. The bark and wood has a yellow tint. (Pojar and MacKinnon 1994).
Ecology Comments: Berries and leaves are browsed by ungulates and rodents (Tilford 1998).
Habitat Comments: Relatively dry to moist rocky sites in open coniferous forests, and forested slopes from 400-2,100 m (Pojar and MacKinnon 1994, Vance et al. in press).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG, LANDSCAPING, Cultivated ornamental
Production Method: Cultivated, Wild-harvested
Economic Comments: This species is cultivated and wild-collected; seeds and plants are commercially available (Vance et al. in press).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2001
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Broaddus, Lynn; rev. Kelly McConnell (2000).
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 31Jan2001
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): KELLY MCCONNELL

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • CalFlora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation. [web application]. 2000. Berkeley, California: The CalFlora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: http://www.calflora.org/. (Accessed: Tue Jan 16 09:50:41 EST 2001)

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Pojar, J., and A. MacKinnon, eds. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Lone Pine Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia and Renton, Washington. 527 pp.

  • Robbins, C. 1999. Medicine from US wildlands: An assessment of native plant species harvested in the United States for medicinal use and trade and evaluation of the conservation and management implications. Traffic North America. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. Available at http://www.nps.gov/plants/medicinal/.

  • Tilford, G. L. 1998. From Earth to Herbalist. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana.

  • Vance, N.C., M. Borsting and D. Pilz. In press. Special forest products species information guide for Pacific Northwest. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-XX.

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