Ocean Spray or, Holodiscus discolor, is a fast-growing deciduous shrub growing up to 15 feet tall in our local area. They have been particularly noticeable over the last two weeks as the plants appear to be entirely covered with white, showy blooms that seem to nearly collapse the plant under their weight. The flowers have a faint sweet, sugary scent. It bears a small, hairy fruit containing one seed, which is light enough to be dispersed by wind.
The plant usually occurs in disturbance areas (after logging or forest fire) and then grows rapidly. Ocean Spray can be observed along roadside cuts and in disturbed areas in open forest lands. Ocean Spray is generally left alone by deer and elk; this is something that has not gone unnoticed by the gardening community and is popular as a domesticated plant.
Native Americans used both the flowers and leaves as medicinal fixes. The fruit, small berries were treated and used as treatment for diarrhea, smallpox, chickenpox and as a blood tonic. The wood of the plant was used for weapons and tools.
The blooms of the Ocean Spray is one of the few flowering plants still in full show this late into the summer. It is especially prevalent along local roads and in recently logged forest lands.