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Leatherleaf mahonia is native to China. It has been planted as an ornamental and is invading woodlands in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. It is an evergreen shrub that grows 5-10 ft. tall. The unusual leaves are pinnately compound, about 18 in. long with 9-13 paired, glossy holly-like leaflets. The leaflet margins have 2-7 teeth per side that are about ¼ in. or less in length. Leaflets are very thick and stiff. Flowering occurs in early spring. Fragrant yellow flowers emerge from the tips of the plant in attractive spike-like sprigs. The fruits are green berries that turn bluish black with a grayish bloom. Fruits hang in grapelike clusters.



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