Holodiscus discolor (Pursh) Maxim
Hillside ocean-pray. Collected near Kamiah in Idaho Co., Idaho, on 29 May 1806. (Source)
A deciduous shrub 3 to 15 feet tall with arching, slightly angled branches. at a fast rate. There are early glabrous, leaves elliptic to oblong, entire, 15-25mm long and obtuse. During the flowering season, in June to August, it is covered with creamy white flowers, 1/4 inch across, 5-petaled, forming feathery, branched clusters that often persist for one year. Fruits are hairy seed-like achenes, about 1/8 inch long. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in October and are wind-dispersed by means of long feathery styles, which act like sails. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. It grows on sunny, dry, rock crevices, protection against winter wet alpine lands, poor, and drained soil. It is found in the mountains and rocky slopes of Idaho, and Montana.
Value for Animals:
Oceanspray is often considered of minor importance as a browse species. However, because this species typically occupies low elevation sites that are easily accessible to livestock and wildlife, plants provide some browse during the summer with peak use in the fall and winter months.
Easy to grow from hardwood cuttings. Can also be grown from seed. Seeds should be collected as soon as ripe (August to September) If sown immediately, fruits can be sown whole. However, if you plan to store the seeds, the fleshy fruit should be removed. Stored seeds may be slow to germinate unless cold-stratified for three months. May also be salvaged, but may be slow to establish after transplanting.
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