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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Holodiscus discolor (Ocean spray)
Glase, Terry

Holodiscus discolor

Holodiscus discolor (Pursh) Maxim.

Ocean Spray, Hillside Ocean-spray, Cream Bush, Mountain Spray

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Holodiscus boursieri, Holodiscus discolor ssp. franciscanus, Holodiscus discolor var. ariaefolius, Holodiscus discolor var. delnortensis, Holodiscus discolor var. franciscanus, Holodiscus discolor var. glabrescens, Holodiscus dumosus ssp. saxicola, Holodiscus dumosus var. australis, Holodiscus dumosus var. glabrescens, Holodiscus glabrescens, Holodiscus microphyllus, Holodiscus microphyllus var. glabrescens, Holodiscus microphyllus var. microphyllus, Holodiscus microphyllus var. sericeus, Holodiscus microphyllus var. typicus, Sericotheca discolor, Spiraea discolor

USDA Symbol: hodi

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

Ocean Spray is a many-stemmed, spreading shrub that normally grows 4-5 ft. tall but can reach much taller. The stems are slender and often arching, bearing deeply lobed and toothed, deciduous foliage. During the flowering season (May-August), the shrub is a complete mass of tiny, fragrant, creamy-white flowers arranged in large, plumed clusters. Older bark is dark red to brown or gray and exfoliating.

Ocean Spray is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae) which includes about 2000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide; approximately 77 native and 9 naturalized tree species and many species of shrubs and herbs in North America. This shrub is a colorful reclaimer of open or disturbed lands.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

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

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: White, sometimes tinged pink.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: CA Coast Ranges to B.C. & w. MT, east to Colorado, south as far as Chiapas in southern Mexico
Native Habitat: Rocky, north-facing slopes; moist, open woods; stream banks; below 7000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry to moist, gravelly or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: A colorful reclaimer of open or disturbed lands.


Use Wildlife: Butterflies (swallowtail, azure, and Lorquin's admiral butterflies)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant 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: Semi-hardwood cuttings, suckers and seeds have been used with success.
Seed Collection: Seeds are produced in tiny, dry capsules.
Seed Treatment: The tiny seeds require cold stratification at 41 degrees for up to 18 weeks.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants 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


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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