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May 3, 2011

Oregon Grape is a low maintanance landscape plant

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Oregon Grape has been recommended to me for planting around the house and yard. It has several features that make it a good choice. The Oregon grape is not related to true grapes, but gets its name from the purple clusters of berries whose color and slightly dusted appearance are like concord grapes. It has everygreen leaves which are shiny and similar to holly--that is, they are prickly.

It grows wild in the Pacific Northwest and in spring has clusters of bright yellow flowers which last quite a while. The plant grows to 3 ft 3 in-16 ft 5 in tall, although most of the local plants are shrubs about 3ft high. Oregon-grape is used in gardens and natural landscaping as a plant suited for low-maintenance. Oregon-grape is resistant to summer drought, tolerates poor soils, and does not create excessive leaf litter. Its berries attract birds.

The small purplish-black fruits, which are quite tart and contain large seeds. The Oregan grape was in the traditional diets of Pacific Northwest aboriginal peoples. It was used both as food and as medicine. The inner bark of the larger stems and roots of Oregon-grape yield a yellow dye; the berries give purple dye.

It's quite an attractive plant to look at, but not so inviting to touch because of the prickly leaves. It was a little difficult to find a source for this plant, but finally I was able to find one.

At Oregon Grape

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at May 3, 2011 7:42 AM
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