This spiny plant is displaying racemes of brilliant yellow flower in the Dry Garden.
Mahonia x media is a hybrid Oregon grape raised from the Chinese species M. japonica and M. lomariifolia by the Slieve Donard Nursery Company of Northern Ireland in the 1950’s. It is an erect shrub to 3m in height, bearing pinnate leaves with glossy, lance-shaped, sharply toothed leaflets. In early winter it produces bright yellow, terminal clusters of erect racemes of flower, which are followed by blue-black fruits. ‘Winter Sun’ was selected at the Slieve Donard Nursery in 1966 for its early flowering and erect habit. A member of the barberry family (Berberidaceae) the wood of all members of this genus are yellow in colour, as is typical of the family.