Definition of mahonia in US English:



  • An evergreen shrub of the barberry family, which produces clusters of small fragrant yellow flowers followed by purple or black berries, native to eastern Asia and North and Central America.

    Genus Mahonia, family Berberidaceae

    • ‘To help stabilize slopes, try mahonia, manzanita, Ribes, or sumac.’
    • ‘At this time of year it's difficult to make the garden look anything but dull, even with the occasional splash of winter colour from a witch hazel or mahonia.’
    • ‘Generally, pruning should be done on shrubs which flower before mid-summer as soon as flowering is over, including winter-flowering viburnums and mahonias, Ribes sanguineum, weigela and Spiraea ‘Arguta’.’
    • ‘Over three months, the gardeners pulled out the weeds by hand, dug and prepared the ground, and replanted with flowering evergreen shrubs such as hebes and mahonia, for year-round colour and low maintenance.’
    • ‘With its bright yellow wood, the evergreen mahonia is very attractive just now, with its holly-like foliage, scented yellow flowers and black berries.’
    • ‘This mahonia can look fantastic in a large container when grouped with other winter plants.’
    • ‘Currently full of snowdrops and mahonia, the garden is popular with patients and visitors alike.’
    • ‘Many birds love berries of barberry, beautyberry, cotoneaster, currant, elderberry, gooseberry, holly, mahonia, mountain ash, nandina, pyracantha, and strawberry tree (not all plants grow in every zone).’
    • ‘But the end of the year belongs to the mahonias, with their bright yellow flowers and bold, evergreen foliage.’
    • ‘For shrubs and trees, try ash, barberry, box elder, bush cinquefoil, butterfly bush, cotoneaster, currants and gooseberries, euonymous, forsythia, lilac (though my deer love them), mahonia, and viburnum.’


Modern Latin, named after Bernard McMahon ( c 1775–1816), American botanist.