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Physocarpus capitatus

Physocarpus capitatus (Pursh) Kuntze

Pacific Ninebark

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Physocarpus opulifolius var. tomentellus

USDA Symbol: PHCA11

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Pacific ninebark is a 3-8 ft., or taller, vase-shaped, deciduous shrub with exfoliating bark and foliage resembling small grape or currant leaves. Tiny, white flowers occur in 3-5 in. wide clusters. Fall foliage ranges from intense red to subtle rose-brown.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Aggregated follicles.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: AK to CA & ID
Native Habitat: Moist banks & north slopes below 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist to drier soils.
Conditions Comments: Can become drought tolerant.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Easy to start from semi-hardwood cuttings with or without hormone treatment. Slow to start from fall-sown seed.
Seed Collection: Ripe fruits can be picked from the shrub or shaken onto a drop cloth.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Physocarpus capitatus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Physocarpus capitatus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Physocarpus capitatus


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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