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

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

Salmonberry

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)
Rubus spectabilis

Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) is a species of Rubus native to the west coast of North America from southern Alaska to California.

It is a shrub growing to 1–4 m tall, with perennial, not biennial woody stems (unlike other species). The leaves are trifoliate, 7–22 cm long, the terminal leaflet larger than the two side leaflets. The leaf margins are toothed. The flowers are 2–3 cm diameter, with five purple petals; they are produced from early spring to early summer. The fruit matures in late summer to early autumn, and resembles a large yellow to orange-red raspberry 1.5-2 cm long with many drupelets.

In our area the berries can ripen from mid-June to late-July.

Salmonberries are found in moist forests and stream margins, especially in the coastal forests. They often form large thickets, and thrive in the open spaces under stands of Red Alder (Alnus rubra).

Salmonberries have a mild flavor, and are often made into jams, candies, jellies, and wines.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • 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: 4-10ft
  • Mature Width: 4-10ft

Douglas Spirea

Douglas spirea (Spiraea douglasii)
Spiraea douglasii

Commonly known as Douglas’s spiraea, hardhack or steeplebush. Large clusters of small pink flowers form spires in early summer, later turning dark and persisting. This erect shrub can be thicket-forming in marshy areas.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 6ft
  • Mature Width: 3-7ft
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