Mahonia lomariifolia

Chinese holly grape

Family: Berberidaceae

Origin: Asia

Chinese holly grape with red and green grapes stacked up.
Berries are oval and green, ripening to purple with a powdered appearance.
Photo credit: Rebecca Stanley

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial evergreen shrub < 5 m tall, single-stemmed or with several upright branches. Leaves are pinnate, clustered towards the ends of branches and have < 9 cm long, spiky leaflets. Flowers are yellow, held in dense, upright, terminal racemes < 25 cm long and borne in winter. Berries are oval and green, ripening to purple.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, from 1 September 2021, you:

  • will not be allowed to breed, distribute, release or sell Chinese holly grape within the Auckland region.
  • will not be allowed to plant Chinese holly grape within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • must destroy any Chinese holly grape on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Forest, forest margins, shrublands.


Seeds dispersed by birds. Vegetative spread from suckering.

Impact on environment

Forms thickets, displacing and suppressing native vegetation.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Chinese holly grapes hanging on a long stem with pointy leaves.
Chinese holly grape seeds are dispersed by birds.
Photo credit: Rebecca Stanley
A photo showing the leaves and yellow flowers of the Chinese Holly Grape.
Flowers are borne in winter.
Photo credit: Photograph by Geoff Kidd/science Photo Library -