Category Archives: Small Shrubs

Black Gooseberry

Black gooseberry (Ribes divaricatum)
Ribes divaricatum

Black gooseberry (Ribes divaricatum) is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 8ft tall with arching stems. The white flowers usually bloom in mid-spring and are a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies. The berries are small and offer a great food source for wildlife.

The plant prefers moist soil and can grow in both full sun and semi-shade. Please note that the plant does have sharp thorns, and precautions should be taken if planting in areas used by young children and pets.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 5-8ft
  • Mature Width: 3-5ft

Baldhip Rose

Baldhip Rose (Rosa gymnocarpa)
Rosa gymnocarpa

Baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) is a low rhizomatous shrub, growing up to 5 feet high. The plant is widespread and common throughout Oregon. It provides food and shelter for a variety of birds and mammals and attracts pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Baldhip rose leaves are compound and deciduous with 5-9 1.5-inch leaflets. Thorns are thin and straight, ranging from numerous to sparse. Flowers are pink and fragrant, blooming in late spring. Half-inch rose hips are orange to scarlet and edible. This rose tolerates full sun to partial shade and is drought tolerant. Rosa gymnocarpa hybridizes with other roses.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 5ft
  • Mature Width: 3-5ft

Golden Currant

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)
Ribes aureum

Golden currant (Ribes aureum) is a low, deciduous shrub, named for its tubular golden flowers. It is common in Oregon and Washington east of the Cascades and into the Great Basin. Golden currant grows in full sun and partial shade, in dry to moist conditions, and is drought tolerant. The leaves are deciduous, lobed, and vaguely maple-like, ½ – 1½ inches. Flowers bloom from mid- to late-spring in clusters. The berries are edible and range in color from red to black.

Golden currant has a mature size of approximately 6 feet by 6 feet. It attracts hummingbirds and the fruit is eaten by birds and other wildlife. Thornless.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing:
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: No
  • Wildlife Support: Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 6ft
  • Mature Width: 6ft

Red Flowering Currant

Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Ribes sanguineum var. sanguineum

Red flowering currant is native to western coastal North America from central British Columbia to central California. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 4 m tall. The bark is dark brownish-grey with prominent paler brown lenticels. The leaves are 2-7 cm long and broad, with five palmate lobes; when young in spring, they have a strong resinous scent. The early spring flowers emerge at the same time as the leaves, on racemes 3-7 cm long with 5-30 flowers. Each flower is 5-10 mm diameter, with five red or pink petals. The fruit is dark purple oval berry 1 cm long, edible but bland.

Cultivation and uses

Red-flowering currant is a popular garden shrub, grown for its brightly colored and scented flowers in early spring. It was introduced into cultivation by David Douglas, and numerous cultivars have been selected with flowers ranging from white to dark red. While cultivars are genetic clones often selected for aesthetic value, open-pollinated, “straight native” plants grown from seed are likely to have the greatest benefit for wildlife.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 4-10ft
  • Mature Width: 3-10ft

Nootka Rose

Nootka rose (Rosa Nutkana)
Rosa nutkana var. nutkana

The Nootka rose is an attractive shrub to 3 meters high. The straight, erect stems are usually green, but occasionally may be reddish. The prickles are larger and thicker than those of the other native rose species.

The leaves are alternate on the stems and pinnately compound with 5-7 leaflets, dark green above, paler and slightly hairy below. The leaflets are elliptic or ovate in shape with serrate margins, and range from 1-7 cm long and 0.7-4.5 cm wide.

The sweetly-scented, pink flowers are usually solitary, occasionally growing in groups of 2 or 3. They are large and showy, ranging from 5-8 cm across. Individual petals are 2.5-4 cm long, and 5 petals are the norm for the flowers. The rose hips are spherical, orange-red and large, ranging from 1-2 cm wide.

Uses

Wild rose is spindly and tends to form loose thickets, which in large spaces makes it useful as a hedgerow or as a wildlife-friendly ornamental. The leaves and fruits are important food sources for herbivores and upland game birds, and rose thickets provide excellent nesting and escape habitat for songbirds. The plant has many uses for people too. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and may be made into jam, tea, and used as flavoring, and the leaves have a variety of medicinal uses. Dried flower petals are used for scents and potpourri.

Habitat

Nootka rose may be found in open upland woods or in open shrub wetlands. In areas where both Rosa nutkana and Rosa woodsii occur, the former may be found at higher elevations and often in woods.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 6-10ft
  • Mature Width: 3-4ft

Thimbleberry

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)
Rubus parviflorus

Rubus parviflorus, commonly called thimbleberry, is a species of Rubus, native to western and northern North America, from Alaska east to Ontario and Michigan, and south to northern Mexico. It grows from sea level in the north, up to 2,500 m altitude in the south of the range.

It is a dense shrub up to 2.5 meters tall with canes no more than 1.5 centimeters in diameter, often growing in large clumps which spread through the plant’s underground rhizome. Unlike most other members of the genus, it has no prickles. The leaves are palmate, up to 20 centimeters across, with five lobes; they are soft and fuzzy in texture. The flowers are 2 to 6 centimeters in diameter, with five white petals and numerous pale yellow stamens. The flower of this species is among the largest of any Rubus species, making its Latin species name parviflorus (‘small-flowered’) a misnomer.

Like other raspberries it is not a true berry, but instead an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. The drupelets may be carefully removed separately from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit which bears a resemblance to a thimble, perhaps giving the plant its name. Thimbleberry fruits are larger, flatter, and softer than raspberries, and have many small seeds. Because the fruit is so soft, it does not pack or ship well, so thimbleberries are rarely cultivated commercially.

The species typically grows along roadsides, railroad tracks, and in forest clearings, commonly appearing as an early part of the ecological succession in clear cut and forest fire areas.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 4-6ft
  • Mature Width: 3-6ft
1 2 3