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Oceanspray - Holodiscus disolor
Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)
Other Names: Creambush [E-flora] Ironwood [Turner&Bell]




  • Fruits (Achenes): - "Raw or cooked[106, 177, 183]. Small and dry [161, 183]." [PFAF]

Other Uses

  • Fodder: "aerial parts gives sweet flavour to the milk". [Lans et al.]
  • Wood
    • camas bulb digging sticks [Turner&Kuhnlein][Turner&Bell], making bows, arrows, harpoon shafts, salmon-barbecuing sticks, cambium scrapers, halibut hooks, knitting needles, cattail mat needles.[Turner&Bell]
    • "Very hard. Used for making small tools, roasting tongs etc[118]. It does not burn easily [118]." [PFAF] Used for making needles to weave cattail mats. [Turner&Bell]

Medicinal Uses



  • Sericotheca discolor. [PFAF]
  • Spiraea discolor. [PFAF][E-flora]
  • Spiraea ariaefolia. [PFAF][E-flora]
  • Holodiscus boursieri (Carr.) Rehd.[E-flora]
    • subsp. franciscanus (Rydb.) Taylor & MacBryde[E-flora]
    • var. ariaefolius (Sm.) Asch. & Graebn. [E-flora]
    • var. delnortensis Ley [E-flora]
    • var. franciscanus (Rydb.) Jepson [E-flora]
    • var. glabrescens (Greenm.) Jepson [E-flora]
  • Holodiscus dumosus subsp. saxicola (A. Heller) Abrams [E-flora]
  • Holodiscus dumosus
  • var. australis (A. Heller) Ley [E-flora]
  • var. glabrescens (Greenm.) C.L. Hichc. [E-flora]
  • Holodiscus glabrescens (Greenm.) A. Heller [E-flora]
  • Holodiscus microphyllus Rydb.
    • var. glabrescens (Greenm.) Ley [E-flora]
    • var. microphyllus Rydb. [superfluous autonym][E-flora]
  • Holodiscus microphyllus
  • Sericotheca discolor (Pursh) Rydb. [E-flora]

General Holodiscus discolor is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.[PFAF]
Flowers hermaphrodite.[PFAF] "...attractive sprays of creamy blossoms..." [Seymour FNE] "flower clusters turn brown and remain on plants over winter." [PCBC2004]
Fruits Tiny, ligh-brown, hairy achenes.[PCBC2004]
Leaves Alternate. Dull green.[IFBC-E-flora] "reddish-tinged in autumn." [PCBC2004]
Stem "...the young stems ridged, older ones with reddish-grey, peeling bark."[IFBC-E-flora] "stems usually arch."[PCBC2004]
Habitat "Dry to mesic bluffs, rocky slopes, clearings, thickets, forest edges and open forests..."[E-flora] "...mostly at low to middle elevations."[PCBC2004]
Range; "Common in Southern B.C;...south to Idaho, Montana and California." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Woods and rocky places in California[71]. Streambanks and moist woods, canyons and hills from valleys to around 2,100 metres[212]." [PFAF]
Status Native.[E-flora]
Ecological Indicator "A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation, precipitation, and latitude. Scattered to plentiful in open and open-canopy, seral (usually Douglas-fir) forests on disturbed, water-shedding sites. Often associated with Mahonia nervosa and Kindbergia oregana. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites." [IPCBC][E-flora]


"The wood of this shrub is extremely hard, especially when it is heated. Also, the stems are long and straight." [Turner&Bell]


From the "... leaves of Holodiscus discolor.... Three flavonoid glycosides of flavonol type were isolated from the methanolic extract: kaempferol-3-O-rhamnoside, quercetin-3-O-glucoside (isoquercitrin) and quercetin-3-O-rhamnoside (quercitrin)." [Haladova et al.]


"Succeeds in a good loamy soil that does not become too dry in summer, in full sun or light shade[200]. A fast-growing plant[188], it thrives in thin woodland[11]. A very ornamental plant[1, 11], when fully dormant it is hardy to about -15°c[200], though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts[K]. The flowers emit a perfume similar to meadowsweet[245]."[PFAF]


"The seed requires 4 months stratification at 4°c. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Can be difficult[200]. Layering in spring. Easy[200]."[PFAF]


The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 31-10-2016