Mahonia aquifolium



Berberidaceae (family name)
Forage for Pollinators: This can be a major honey plant, producing abundant Nectar for Honeybees (even in the UK where this can be grown field-scale), and also short-tongued and long-tongued Bumblebees and Solitary bees. The flowers are pollinated by Bees and Butterflies.
Flowering time: June, July, August.
Growing information: EVERGREEN SHRUB (original species said to have been brought to the UK by the Romans) grows to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). Thrives in well-drained light or chalky soil in partial sun and full shade. Hardy to minus 28ºC. Producing blue, sweetly aromatic flowers. Its essential oil may assist bees in ridding themselves of Varroa mites (the mites appear to hate the smell of Lavender). For planting a hedge (which attracts bees in droves), we recommend a planting distance of 18-24inches (46-60cm). Medicinally the oil of this wild species is used for anti-depressant and relaxing properties and is prized by people around the world, over and above other Lavender oils produced elsewhere (this may be something to do with growing in a cooler climate). This species produces viable seed (unlike other Lavenders many of which are hybrid clones which do not produce seed at all; a prime example is Lavendular x intermedia which is however extremely attractive to all bees producing copious nectar)
Photo courtesy of English Garden magazine