Ocean-Spray
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. 

Food Uses
The fruit is small and dry, but may be eaten raw or cooked.  It was also boiled as a beverage with a flavor like weak sassafras.

Medicinal Uses
The seeds are a blood purifier. An infusion has been used in the treatment of smallpox, black measles and chickenpox. The blossoms have been used in the treatment of diarrhea. The inner bark is tonic. An infusion has been used as an eyewash. The bark can be dried, powdered and then used with oil as a dressing on burns. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to sore lips and sore feet. A powder of the dried leaves has been used as a dressing on sores. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of influenza.

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. 

Planting:
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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