Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.

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Report the species

Report Mahonia aquifolium to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

The shrub Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. occurs in a wide range of semi-natural habitats like dunes, rock outcrops, grasslands and woodlands. They prefer calcic soils and can grow in dry to moist conditions, often in shaded habitats. Mahonia produces numerous flowers and berries that are dispersed by birds over long distances. The recent expansion of this species in western Europe is probably triggered by climate warming.

Mahonia aquifolium has a high growth rate due to hybridisation and subsequent selection by breeders. Rapid clonal growth takes place through root suckers and stem layering, leading to the formation of large and dense populations that are known to overgrow and outcompete native species and accelerate the colonisation of open habitats by woody vegetation (Branquart et al. 2010).

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Distribution map of Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019-12-08.

Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. is a common ornamental plant in Luxembourg which regularly escapes from cultivation in private and public gardens to form spontaneous woody vegetation. Occurrences in the wild remain rare.

The oldest herbarium specimen at the MNHNL was collected by Jos. Witry on 21 April 1935 in a park in Bergem (Specimen № 51941, MNHNL 2000-).

It was first documented in the wild in Luxembourg on 20th July 1950 by Léopold Reichling (1921-2009) in Verluerekascht (Municipality of Larochette) (MNHNL 2000-).

13 records are accessible through the MNHNL-mdata portal (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019).

The melliferous Oregon-grape originates from North America (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 92).

Other Mahonia species, cultivars and hybrids

Various cultivars and hybrids of this species are planted for ornamental purposes, the latter resulting from hybridisation with other North American species Mahonia pinnata (Lag.) Fedde and M. repens (Lindl.) D. Don in particular. The following taxa could thus be observed escaping from culture: M. aquifolium, M. ×wagneri (Jouin) Rehd. (M. aquifolium × pinnata) and M. ×decumbens Stace (M. aquifolium × repens) (Lambinon & Verloove 2012: 92).

Krombach (1875: 38) mentions Mahonia repens (Lindl.) G.Don for Luxembourg: “Introduced from America and cultivated for its early flowering and evergreen foliage.”

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol: B1 (3+2+2+2) = Watch List (Ries et al. 2013: 18).

Bibliography

  • Branquart, E., S. Vanderhoeven, W. Van Landuyt, F. Van Rossum, F. Verloove & A. Vervoort, 2010. Harmonia database: Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt.. Harmonia version 1.2, Belgian Forum on Invasive Species. URL: http://ias.biodiversity.be [accessed on 2019-10-11]
  • Krombach, J.-H.-G., 1875. Flore du grand-duché de Luxembourg. Plantes phanérogames. 564 p. Luxembourg, Imprimerie Joris.
  • Lambinon J. & F. Verloove, 2012. Nouvelle flore de la Belgique, du grand-duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines. Sixième édition. Avec la collaboration de L. Delvosalle, B. Toussaint, D. Geerinck, I. Hoste, F. Van Rossum, B. Cornier, R. Schumacker, A. Vanderpoorten et H. Vannerom. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise. CXXXIX + 1195 pp. ISBN : 9789072619884.
  • MNHNL, 2000-. Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. in Recorder-Lux, database on the natural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Musée national d’histoire naturelle, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-10-11]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: https://mdata.mnhn.lu [Accessed 2019-10-11]
  • Ries, C., Y. Krippel, M. Pfeiffenschneider & S. Schneider, 2013. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of non-native vascular plant species in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 114: 15-21. [PDF 652 KB]

 Page content last updated on 2019-11-19. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-11-19.