Oregon is a beautiful West coast state with varied landscapes, from the rugged coastline to Mountains and gorges, arid desserts and alpine forests. In 1899, Oregon named the Oregon Grape as the state floral emblem. The interesting part is that the Oregon Grape is called a “grape”, but it is actually not related to grape vines at all.
The Oregon Grape is a native evergreen shrub that grows primarily on the Pacific Coast but can also be sparsely found east of the Cascade Mountains. This shrub very closely resembles holly, with waxy, wilt resistant foliage that is sometimes used by florists due to its resilience. It grows to a height of 2-3 feet in the wild, but when this low maintenance shrub is cultivated it can be coaxed into reaching heights of 6-8 feet.
In the early Summer, it forms a densely packed cluster of small yellow blooms that resemble lilac. The aroma of these flowers attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees who consume the sweet nectar and help to pollinate the plants. As the flowers fade, the plant forms dark blue-purplish berries that are edible, but not sour on their own, so they are used to make jellies and jams locally. The roots and bark of the shrub have been used in traditional medicines to treat ailments of the skin as well as to make a yellow dye.