Herb latin name: Mahonia lomariifolia

Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)

Medicinal use of Mahonia lomariifolia:

Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn.

Description of the plant:


5 m
(16 feet)

to March


Habitat of the herb:

Forests around 2000 metres.

Edible parts of Mahonia lomariifolia:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The oval fruit is about 5 - 8mm long, it is quite juicy and has a nice acid flavour that children tend to love though many adults are less sure. The fruit is especially nice when added to muesli or porridge. Unfortunately, there is often relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds, though plants often also produce seedless fruits. Unlike many members of this species, the seedless fruits of this plant do not have a bitter flavour.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. It usually germinates in the spring. "Green" seed (harvested when the embryo has fully developed but before the seed case has dried) should be sown as soon as it is harvested and germinates within 6 weeks. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in late winter or spring. 3 weeks cold stratification will improve its germination, which should take place in 3 - 6 months at 10C. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their next winter. Division of suckers in spring. Whilst they can be placed direct into their permanent positions, better results are achieved if they are potted up and placed in a frame until established. Leaf cuttings in the autumn.

Cultivation of Mahonia lomariifolia:

Forests around 2000 metres.

Known hazards of Mahonia lomariifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.