Holodiscus discolor, also known as Oceanspray or Creambush, is a stunning deciduous shrub native to Western North America. This multi-stemmed shrub grows to be 1-4 meters tall and has slender, straight to slightly arching stems. The deep green leaves are broad and ovate, deeply lobed, and toothed. The shrub is covered with delicate clouds of fragrant, creamy-white flowers arranged in large, pendent, plumed clusters that may reach 12 inches (30 cm) long from late spring to late summer. These flowers attract hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial insects. The flowers give way to tiny, light brown fruits that often persist into fall and winter, which are edible raw or cooked.
Oceanspray is also known for its medicinal uses. The seeds are a blood purifier and have been used in the treatment of smallpox, black measles, and chickenpox. The blossoms have been used to treat diarrhea and the inner bark as a tonic. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to sore lips and feet.
This breathtaking plant is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, dry to moist conditions, and sun or shade. It is a colourful reclaimer of open or disturbed lands and lends charm to the sunny woodland setting.
If you are looking to attract butterflies and enjoy fragrant flowers, this is the plant for you. Oceanspray is a low-maintenance plant that will add beauty to your garden.
Bushlike, Colourful reclaimer of open or disturbed lands., Slow growing
General: Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall; stems slender, erect to ascending, usually arching, hairy, the young stems ridged, older ones with reddish-grey, peeling bark.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, dull green, egg-shaped to broadly triangular, 3-6 (10) cm long, coarsely toothed or shallowly pinnately lobed, often with minute, abruptly pointy-tipped, secondary teeth, squared-off to wedge-shaped at the base, on stalks 10-15 mm long, the upper surface green and coarse-hairy to smooth, the lower surface paler, strongly veined and soft-hairy.
Flowers: Inflorescences diffuse, terminal, pyramidal, somewhat drooping clusters 10-17 cm long, of numerous small (3-5 mm across), short-stalked flowers; corollas white to cream, the petals 5, oval, 1.5-2 mm long; calyces deeply 5-lobed, the lobes about 1.5 mm long, short-hairy on the outer surface; ovaries superior, hairy; stamens about 20.
Fruits: Achenes, 5, tiny (about 2 mm long), light brown, long-stiff-hairy; fruit clusters turning brown and remaining on the plants over the winter.”