Native Plant of the Month: Pacific Ninebark

Photo of Pacific Ninebark.

Common Name: Pacific Ninebark

Binomial Name: Physocarpus capitatus

Soil Type: moderately moist

Sunlight: Full sun to part shade

Plant Type: Deciduous

Form: Multi‐stemmed shrub  

Foliage: Green leaves

The Pacific ninebark is a native shrub that grows to about 8 feet tall, and in some cases up to 12 feet tall in the right conditions. Named ninebark because the bark sheds off in thin strips revealing more layers of bark underneath. This native shrub is closely related to another native plant called Spirea or (Spiraea douglasii) both do very well in moist areas around streams or lakes and in forests and look very similar.

In the late spring to early summer the Pacific Ninebark blooms rounded clusters of white and sometimes pink flowers. The leaves of a ninebark are about 2 inches wide with three lobes, alternately arranged and have a mild green color.