Upright shrub, with multiple erect branches and foliage primarily terminal.
Tolerates full sun to shade but performs better in partial shade. Well-drained, moist, acidic soils result in the best growth. Does not do well in hot, dry environments.
Good plant for use under open canopies or in drifts in large gardens. A bird-attracting plant.
Alternate, pinnately compound (13 - 19 leaflets), lanceolate- to oblong-ovate, spinose margins, 12 to 18 inches long. Extremely stiff, plastic-like leaves. These leaves are not as spiny as M. bealei. Deep green color, lacking the blue-green of some Mahonia.
Distinct yellow inner bark.
Pendulous, loose racemes, made up of fragrant yellow flowers 4 to 8 inches long. Borne in March - April.
Blue- black drupes, .25 inches long cascade over the foliage in the late spring.