'Arthur Menzies' has dramatic, frond-like leaves that grow in whorls along its coarsely branched stems. Great sprays of gold flowers appear in early December, developing into grape-like clusters of wax-coated black berries by August. It is wonderful planted with Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata', Stachyurus praecox and underplanted with Helleborus x hybridus, Carex testacea and Cyclamen coup.
'Arthur Menzies' originated at Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum. The original seed was from the garden of Arthur Menzies, the seedlings germinated at Strybing Arboretum (San Francisco) of the frost-tender Mahonia lomariifolia were grown on in Seattle. From the beginning this clone looked different from its siblings and was the only survivor of the very cold winter of 1962, indicating that it was probably a hybrid of M. bealei. It is a vase-shaped shrub that is meant to be TOUGH, although hardiness is Zone 7a it has thrived in my front garden, sheltered by the house in pt sun/shade. Not this year, after their annual display of spectacular flowers, every single one looks as dead as a doornail. I've cut them to the ground and am praying for shoots!