Pacific ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus




     West side of the Cascades from southern Alaska to northern California, also occurs in Idaho (1 and 5)

Climate, elevation

     Moist, mild climate; low to middle elevations (2)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

     Often grows along streams and lakeshores in wooded areas, often in ash swales and other wetlands; can also grow near coastal marshes and wet meadows (1 and 3)


Habitat preferences

     Full to partial sun (2)

     Somewhat open areas on margins of lakes and streams (3)

     Moist to wet areas with well drained soils (2)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

     Can tolerate fluctuating water levels and prolonged soil saturation (2)

     Has excellent soil binding ability (2)


Associated species

     Sedges (Carex spp.), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), and lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) (1)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

     Seed (4)

     Harwood cuttings and live-staking (4)

     Salvage for plants under six feet tall (2)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

     Collect seeds in late August to September (2)

     Cuttings can be taken at any time of year (2)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

     Cold stratification often for 2-3 months (2 and 4)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

     Best if planted immediately after collection


Recommended seed storage conditions

     Best if planted immediately after collection


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

     Plant seeds in fall on-site or in the greenhouse to get germinates the following spring (4)

     Cuttings or salvaged plants can be planted into containers and stored until established (2)

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

     Well-drained soil (4)


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

     Established cuttings

     Established salvage material

     Direct seeding



Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

     Soil must be kept consistently moist


Sources cited

1.      Guard, B. Jennifer. Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington. Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C. 1995.


2.      Leigh, Michael. Grow Your Own Native Landscape. Native Plant Salvage Project, WSU Cooperative Extension-Thurston County. Revised edition, June 1999.


3.      Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast-Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Minisrty of Forest and Lone Pine Publishing. 1994.


4.      Stevens, M. and R. Vanbianchi. 1993. Restoring Wetlands in Washington: A Guidebook for Wetland Restoration, Planning and Implementation. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 93-17, 110 p.


5.      USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.



Data compiled by:

Crystal Elliot, 5/10/03