Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor)
This flowering shrub, a mainstay along roads and trailsides throughout the west, begins blooming in June at lower elevations (like our photos here) and peaks in July and August at higher elevations. Ocean Spray can grow up to 20 feet, dwarfing related shrubs like the midsize spirea and low mats of luetkea both of which also display showy clusters of small flowers. The droopy flower shape accounts for the name, resembling ocean foam. When not in bloom, they can be recognized by their lobed oak-shaped leaves. Natives used the tough branches, particularly the straight new shoots, for arrow shafts , spears, roasting spits, and other digging tools. Also called arrow-wood, creambush, ironwood, and mountain spray.