views updated May 21 2018

Mahonia (family Berberidaceae) A genus of evergreen shrubs that have pinnate leaves and an inflorescence in the form of a raceme or panicle of trimerous flowers. The flowers usually have 5 whorls of similar perianth segments, 2 whorls of stamens, and an ovary of 1 carpel which develops into a berry. They are cultivated for their ornamental foliage, flowers, and fruits, which are like tiny, blue-black grapes (Oregon grapes), winter-flowering varieties being especially popular. There are some 70 species, occurring in eastern Asia and N. America.