General: Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall; stems several, erect to spreading, sparingly branched, greyish-red; winter buds and young growth not sticky, somewhat rusty-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound; leaflets 7 to 11, oblong to oblong-egg-shaped, 2-7 cm long, rounded to blunt at the tip, smooth above, sometimes rusty-hairy below, rather coarsely saw-toothed for not more than 3/4 their length.
Flowers: Inflorescence a half-rounded, branched cluster of numerous (15 to 80) small flowers, the branches often minutely rusty-hairy; corollas white to cream, the petals 5, oval, 4-6 mm long; calyces mostly smooth, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular; ovaries inferior; stamens 15-20.
Fruits: Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), nearly globe-shaped to ellipsoid, 8-10 mm long, red, glaucous, 2- to 5-chambered; seeds 1 or 2 per chamber.
Notes: Two sympatric varieties occur in BC:
1. Leaflets entire or toothed mostly above midlength................ var. grayi (Wenzig) C.L. Hitchc.
1. Leaflets toothed one-half to three-quarters their length................. var. sitchensis
1. Plants becoming trees over 5 m tall; leaflets usually more than 13, winter buds covered with long soft-hairy grey hairs; styles 2 or 3...........................S. aucuparia
1. Plants shrubby, usually less than 5 m tall; leaflets rarely as many as 13, winter buds not covered with long soft grey hairs; styles 3 to 5.
2. Winter buds rusty-hairy; calyces smooth on outside; leaflets blunt or rounded at the tip, toothed for not more than 3/4 of their length; styles 4 or 5, fruit red, glaucous...............S. sitchensis
2. Winter buds sticky, sparsely white-hairy; calyces hairy on outside; leaflets sharp-pointed at tip, toothed for most of their length; styles 3 or 4; fruit orange, not glaucous................S. scopulina
Source: Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Habitat / Range
Mesic to moist open forests, forest edges, streambanks, rockslides, thickets and meadows in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC (except NE BC), especially southward; N to AK and YT, E to AB and S to ID, MT and N CA.
A shade-intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime subalpine boreal climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-poor soils; its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation and elevation, and decreases with continentality. Common but scattered in open-canopy, coniferous forests on watershedding sites; persists in clearings. Characteristic of Mor humus forms.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2023-06-02 5:43:55 AM
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