Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall; branches erect to arching, angled, smooth to minutely star-shaped-hairy when young, eventually with brown, shredding bark.
Alternate, deciduous, the stalks 1-3 cm long, the blades egg- to heart-shaped in outline, 3-10 cm long, palmately 3- or 5-lobed, the lobes irregularly double-toothed, deeply veined, shiny dark green above, paler and with abundant star-shaped hairs below.
Inflorescences dense, terminal, half-rounded clusters of numerous stalked flowers, the stalks woolly; corollas white, saucer-shaped, the petals 5, nearly circular, 3-5 mm long; calyces densely star-shaped-hairy, 5-lobed, the lanceolate lobes about 3 mm long, somewhat bent back; ovaries superior; stamens about 30, pink.
Follicles, 3 to 5, barely joined at the base, inflated, 7-11 mm long, reddish, mostly smooth; seeds 1 to 4 per follicle, pear-shaped, yellowish, hardened, shiny.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present over the Summer
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|CDF(13), CWH(66), ICH(4), IDF(3), PP(2)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Physocarpus opulifolius (L.) Maxim., orth. cons.
Physocarpus opulifolius var. tomentellus (Ser.) B. Boivin
Dwarf Pacific Ninebark
Pacific ninebark is a large shrub frequently reaching four meters in height, but the dwarf mutant grows to be only about one-half meter in height, with horizontal spreading branches. Such dwarf mutants may involve a mutation affecting the normal growth hormones in the plant, or they could affect some biosynthetic pathway that is necessary for normal growth. Despite its small size, the mutant produces normal leaves and flowers.
Source: Extracted from Griffiths and Ganders, 1983, Wildflower Genetics: A Field Guide for British Columbia and the Northwest.