Pacific Ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus
Rosaceae – Rose family
“Physocarpus” is derived from the Greek words for bladder (“physa”) and fruit (“karpon”) referring to the dry, bladder-like capsule of generally three seeds. “Capitatus” refers to the capitate or head-like clusters of rounded five-petaled white flowers each containing 20 or more brilliant pink stamens. The mature bark of this 6 to 12 foot shrub or small tree peels into many layers giving rise to the common name of “ninebark.”
Ninebark is a graceful shrub or small tree with upright but arching dark brown stems. The medium to light green leaves are multi-lobed, serrated, and like those of the maple, are aesthetic in form. Ninebark spreads primarily by seeds, and also by rooting stems. The peeled young shoots were used as an emetic by some Native groups who apparently had little other use for ninebark. Today, the white flower heads, handsome leaves, and graceful habit of this small tree are reasons enough to find Ninebark a niche in the natural garden (5-54).
Information courtesy of “The View From Springbrook Park; an Illustrated Natural History” by Ed Chinn.
Photos taken by Laura Tanz
Sponsored by Friends of Springbrook Park; Lake Oswego, OR