Can Be Confused With: Red huckleberry due to similar color and size. Another one of my favorite wild edibles books, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, states that the sour Oregon Grape berries can be eaten raw or made into jam or jelly. While they are edible, they are extremely tart and historically used more medicinally or as a dye than as a food source. Where to Find Them: This plant is found most commonly in moist, shady areas, but can be found in dry slopes. Himalayan and evergreen blackberry varieties, In Season: 4 Must-Try Winter Produce Recipes, Getting Through a Pandemic: One Plate at a Time. This is the short cousin to Tall Oregon Grape and is better used as a ground cover (generally 2 foot in height) planted either singly or in masses. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are gifted with mild temperatures, rich soil, and lots of rain, which gives our native plant species a great environment to take root and flourish. They are small, smooth, round, or slightly egg-shaped. In fact, they are very tart, but edible nonetheless. Native to western North America, it can be found from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Pacific Coast. What is an Oregon grape? Color and Shape: Small, smooth, oval-shaped red berries, but can also be shades of green and orange when ripening. Peak Season: The plant is evergreen and the berries ripen in winter. The Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa, formerly Berberis nervosa) grows to 2 feet tall, with long stems of opposite leaflets, sometimes showing 21 leaflets per stem. Shiny evergreen leaves, shade-loving, tart edible berries, great for ground cover. Native Range: One or more of the four native species of Mahonia can be found in almost every county in Oregon; common along the entire west coast and eastward toward the Rockies. They are Oregon grape, Oregon grape-holly, Oregon-grape, Oregongrape, mountain grape, Oregon hollygrape, holly-leaved barberry, tall mahonia, Oregon grapeholly, and Oregon holly-grape. The Oregon grape is a low sprawling shrub with waxy, dark green leaves that look like holly leaves. It is called “dull” because its leaves are not as shiny as Tall Oregon […] Dull Oregon-grape, also called Cascade Barberry, is one of the most common understory plants in Pacific Northwest forests. Plants grows well in the sun and large patches are known as brambles. A way to tell these berries apart from a regular blackberry is the core: blackberries have a white core, whereas a black raspberry is hollow in the middle like a regular raspberry. Color and Shape: Shiny, red, and round, these berries often have a small black spot at the bottom of berry—a surefire sign to not consume it! Grapelike berries 1/3 inch in diameter ripen in July through September and are the source of the plant’s common names, Oregon grape holly and Oregon holly grape. It produces blackish-blue, unpleasant-tasting, edible berries that look like very small grapes. Origin: Eaten by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest in combination with Oregon Grapes to sweeten them, Salal berries are often dried into cakes. Origins: This plant ranges from Alaska down the west coast to north Mexico. Where to Find Them: There are two types of Oregon Grape: the Tall Oregon Grape and the Low Oregon Grape. Even though the common names suggest a connection with the fruit, this is not a true grape Vitis) or in the Vitaceae family. Origin: This plant is native to North America and can be found across the Pacific Northwest region. These berries are also used for dye and medicinal purposes. Taste: Slightly sour. They look and taste nothing like a grape. They are smooth and round. ; plant grows dry and/or open forests in low to montane areas. Care is minimal; in fact, once established, Oregon grape is an extremely low maintenance plant and an excellent addition to native planted landscapes. As you enjoy the summer months here in the Pacific Northwest, be on the lookout for these berries in your outdoor adventures. Color and shape: Blue/purple. Great in: Jams, pies, cobblers, ice creams, or eaten as-is. Low Oregon Grape The Barberry Family–Berberidaceae Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt. The leaves are identifiably spiny. Mahonia aquifolium, the Oregon grape, is a species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to western North America. It has long, jagged glossy green leaves that take on a purple tint during the winter months. berries are about 1cm long. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Color and Shape: Bright red when ripe, these berries resemble raspberries. This entry was posted in Eating Well and tagged berries, eating well, Summer. Origins: Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest are fond of this berry, often traveling long distances to gather them—eating them fresh or drying them into cakes. Below are our picks for top Oregon edibles under … Where to Find Them: This shrub thrives mostly in the shade with some sun. Happy hiking! It’s the North American equivalent to the Barberry. They also have from 1 to 4 seeds in each tiny "grape" so there isn't much meat to them. Characteristics: Evergreen woody-stemmed shrubs with distinct holly-like leaves. Color and Shape: Mostly black but can appear bluish or purple, Huckleberries are smooth and round. But, what … Origin: Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest have long eaten this berry, but often mix it with sweeter berries to better its flavor. Can Be Confused With: Red Huckleberry- similar in shape, color, and size. They brought back many new species from their expedition, and this one was described to science in 1813 by Frederick T. Pursh, a German-American botanist. Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is a flowering herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat numerous conditions, including … (1) Berberis Nervosa or Oregon Grape, a low growing shrub 4 - 12 inches high . They are bumpy in shape (Beware of thorns on the plant). Origins: Also known as the Whitebark Raspberry, this plant’s range stretches from the Pacific Northwest to north Mexico. However, with so many varieties present in the Pacific Northwest, it can be difficult to know where to start, or which are okay to eat. Otherwise it is a low-growing, shrubby plant with persistent, hollylike leaves. Where to Find Them: Usually found in areas of sun to light shade in fields or wooded hills. The Low can be found in relatively moist, open forests while the Tall can handle both dry open areas and moist shady areas. It was sufficiently common that Lewis and Clark collected it on their 1805 visit to the Lower Columbia River. Color and shape: Mature berries are most commonly a yellow-orange. Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub/ground cover that is slow growing and only reaches about 2 feet (60 cm.) They are small, smooth, round, or slightly egg-shaped. Low Oregon grape is a smaller plant found in the forest understory. It is an evergreen shrub growing 1 m (3 ft) to 3 m (10 ft) tall by 1.5 m (5 ft) wide, with pinnate leaves consisting of spiny leaflets, and dense clusters of yellow flowers in early spring, followed by dark bluish-black berries. Mahonia spp. Cascade Oregon grape plant (Mahonia nervosa) goes by several names: longleaf mahonia, cascade mahonia, dwarf Oregon grape, cascade barberry, and dull Oregon grape. Highly invasive Himalayan and evergreen blackberry varieties are non-native European species that are highly invasive and difficult to control. The secret to growing this shrub is to mimic its natural habitat. Cascade Oregon grape is commonly found in secondary growth, under the closed canopies of Douglas fir trees. Due to genetic similarities between Mahonia, the genus of Oregon Grape, and Berberis, the genus of Barberries, many species are shuffled between the two genera. This summer, whether you’re on an intensive hike or just going for a walk down the street, you are bound to come across some berry bushes. The holly-like leaves make it an excellent barrier hedge. As the season progressses, these brilliantly yellow waxy flowers will become a sour, but edible berry that isn't actually a grape. Origins: Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest eat this berry throughout the year—both fresh and dried, often using it as fish bait due to its resemblance to a salmon egg. 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