Ocean Spray – Holodiscus discolor

When driving along the countryside on southern Island in June , one will be charmed by the sprays of white flowers of Holodiscus discolor, locally called Ocean spray. It is a native plant and very attractive at this time of the year. This one happens to be on our property. It is very drought tolerant and very hardy plant.  It is not fussy. It even grows  in full shade in the forest but does not bloom as much. It  also tolerates very poor soil. Ocean Spray wood is very hard and the branches were harvested and used by native people  for tools, furniture , spears, and harpoons and even nails . The leaves and flowers were also used by indigenous people for medicinal purposes such as smallpox, measles, chickenpox and for blood treatment.

ocean spray1

The flowers reminds me of  Astilbe or  some kind of white Fillipendula. but it is member of the Rose (Rosacae) family.

ocean spray


Later , in middle of summer the flowers turn tan and then brown and the plant is not as attractive any more. The spent flowers are lasting on the plant for ever . Many times I can see the brown, dry flowers on the plant together with the new fresh white clusters. We trim several shrubs on our property and they seem to like it.

This is a close up of these lovely flowers

ocean spray3

ocean spray2a

And in the landscape in late June

ocean spray4


The foliage turns yellow to burgundy before it falls.

This is the shape of a single leaf.

oceanspray leaf


The shrub is somewhat invasive but not listed as such  as it is very useful plant with its shallow roots able to grow on steep slopes helping to avoid erosion..


And it is deer prove!


Such is life




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