Mahonia fortunei (Lindl.) Fedde

Chinese Mahonia, Fortune’s Mahonia




Family: Berberidaceae

Genus: Mahonia

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: (7)8 to 9

Size: 5 to 6' tall (less in colder areas)

Growth Rate: Slow

Exposure: Filtered Sun, Part Shade, Shade


Slender, erect form. Leaves are slender (although not as fine as Mahonia eurybracteata.Yellow flowers in late summer to early autumn on narrow terminal racemes. Needs winter protection in zone 7. Dirr reports leaves severely damaged at 5F and plants killed to the ground at -3F. Floridata says full sun in zones 7 to 8.


Published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 31: 1-2: 130 in 1902.

Basionym is Berberis fortunei Lindl.

Introduced by Robert Fortune (1812-80), a Scottish horticulturalist and plant collector (China), in 1846 and named for him. In that time, it was virtually impossible to travel in China so most of his discoveries were from gardens.


My Experience: 

I purchased a 1-gallon plant from Nurseries Caroliniana in November 2010 and overwintered it in the pot in the conservatory. It bloomed well in autumn each year and then in early September 2013.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner