Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Leatherleaf Mahonia

My front flower bed has been taken over by Soloman's seal which makes it virtually impossible to walk in or weed that bed.  In the corner of this bed lives a Mahonia plant that I hardly ever notice because it is next to a dogwood and hidden by all sorts of treachery.  But a couple weeks ago I decided to try and clear some of the incredibly prolific Soloman's seal and this is what I found.

I have always loved the beautiful soft green-blue berries on this plant but I never noticed the striking orange color of the leaves.  The contrast between both color and texture of berries and leaves is a feast for the eyes.

And the red stems are also interesting.  Their shape in the above photo reminds me of a thin, red, furry spider.  And in case you thought this plant couldn't get any more showy, check out the deep blue-purple color the berries will become in a month. 

But beauty often comes with a price and, although the plant is beautiful, I just realized it is considered invasive.  I know for sure this plant is a Mahonia, but there is Mahonia aquifolium and Mahonia bealeiM. aquifolium is native but M. bealei is from China.  My suspicion is this is the invasive one. If anyone out there can confirm this leave me a comment. 

Before I realized this plant is banned in several states I had already chosen this quote because this song popped in my head when I saw these I am going to leave you with it anyway.

"Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make 'em go, "Aah, aah, aah"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe."
-Katy Perry

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