Saturday, April 04, 2009
Arthur Menzies Mahonia
Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies'
This Mahonia is a hybrid between M. japonica and M. lomariifolia and was developed at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, Washington. It was selected from a seedling at the Arboretum in 1961. It is named after Arthur Menzies, a supervisor at Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco who made the original cross.
Mahonia is a nice plant to have at this time of year. The yellow flowers are very early blooming, and are followed by sapphire colored fruit. The fruit is edible and rich in Vitamin C although I have never tried them. The birds seem to like them a lot. The leaves are some of the spiniest and they provide some winter interest in the garden.
'Arthur Menzies' is hardy to USDA Zone 7 and grows to about 6-8 feet tall and can tolerate some shade. It can become a bit leggy and may need to be cut back for the best shape. The leaves are larger than most Mahonias.
There are several of the 70 species of Mahonia that are used in gardens although around here you don’t see them to often. They are closely related to Barberries.
This is a seed pod from the Wintersweet Tree (Chimonanthus praecox). I liked the shape and there were still a couple of flowers hanging on but the pods were in better condition than the flowers.