NATIVE RANGE: eastern North America
POSSIBLE TO DETECT: year-round
FLOWERING SEASON: April – May
DESCRIPTION: A tall, evergreen shrub with numerous erect stems. Leaves are pinnately compound, typically with one terminal leaflet and 2 to 6 pairs of opposite leaflets. These are lanceolate, with a thick, waxy cuticle and 6 to 13 spined teeth along margins. They are glossy green above and paler green below. Flowers are small and bright yellow, borne in upright clusters. Fruits are small, dark blue berries, covered with a waxy bloom.
HABITAT: Grows in deciduous and coniferous forests up to 2,100 m above sea level. Mostly on calcareous soils, both in open habitats and in the shade of trees.
STATUS: Locally naturalised throughout Europe. Often cultivated in gardens and on graveyards.
SIMILAR SPECIES:Leatherleaf mahonia (B. bealei), is an up to 8 metres high shrub with pinnately compound leaves which consist of 4 to 7 leaflet pairs, which have 5 to 7 spined teeth along margins. Flowers are yellow, borne in up to 30 cm long upright racemes. Fruits are oval, up to 15 mm long, dark purple berries with a waxy bloom. Common holly (Ilex aquifolium) has simple, spiralling leaves. Fruits are round, red berries.