‘Autumn colours’: Part two

This short post is part of a series focusing on autumn colours.

Featured in the photo accompanying this post are the flowers of a shrub known as Mahonia. Unlike most of the animals and plants featured in our nature notes, Mahonia is not native to the UK. However, while of non-native status, this plant can still be very useful in supporting wildlife. This is because it offers a source of nectar in late autumn and winter, when other sources are scarce. In an excellent article on gardening with wildlife in mind, the ecologist Chris Gibson describes it as a useful plant for closing the winter nectar gap.

There are several Mahonia bushes around the Park, and their racemes of small bright-yellow flowers, combined with their holly-like foliage, make them quite distinct from any other plant to be found here.

Once pollinated, the flowers will develop into dark, powdery-blue fruit, which explains why one species of this plant that is native to the North American West is known as Oregon-grape.