All soils - adaptable, moderate to low moisture requirements
Mahonia aquifolium is a great plant for shade and works well in woodland gardens. The fruit is almost as large as a blackcurrant and is produced in large bunches so it is easy to harvest. It has medicinal and other uses.
Native Americans had over 16 uses for this plant ranging from dyes to an edible staple. (references)
The berries ripen from June through August from south to north. While they may look somewhat like a grape, they are not and do not taste like grapes. They are tart and palatable. Jelly, jam, mead are all possiblitities.
Oregon Grape contains the compound berberine, which is mainly found in the roots and bark of the plant. Berberine is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic. It is cautioned against consumption by those who are pregnant.
How to grow: Soak seed 8 hours in water. Place in a Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel, then place in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Plant in flats or multiple seed in a pot. Germination takes from 3 weeks to 20 weeks. As the little seedlings emerge and are large enough to handle. Plant in their own pots and grow out until large enough to fend on their own.