Promotes health & function of the GI tract*
Oregon Grape is an evergreen shrub native to mid-low elevation regions throughout the Pacific Northwest. 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. The ability of Mahonia species and Berberis species to hybridize further complicates this, and Mahonia aquifolium is now synonymous with Berberis aquifolium. Mahonia aquifolium, the larger of the two Mahonia species, is a common wild plant in the transition zones at a forest’s edge, and is used as an ornamental plant that can commonly be seen in residential gardens in Seattle. M. aquifolium has 5-9 spikey, waxy, undulating leaflets per leaf, that resemble holly. The other species, M. nervosa, grows low to the ground in dense cedar and Douglas-Fir dominated forests, and has 9-19 much flatter, non-spikey leaflets per leaf. Oregon Grape is in the Berberidaceae plant family, which also includes Barberries (Berberis spp), Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum), Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), and Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). Oregon Grape is not a grape (Vitis spp) at all, but gets its name from the purple fruits that form following a robust yellow flower cluster. It resembles a holly bush and the species name ‘aquifolium’ is derived from classical Latin: aqua, water + folium, leaf. Thus, the name ‘aquifolium’ refers to the shiny, wet appearance of the leaves of Oregon Grape and Holly. The Latin binomial for the common Holly tree is Ilex aquifolium.
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