Oceanspray is a native shrub, with small, lobed leaves and clusters of white flowers. It produces small, hairy seeds in the late summer, which are dispersed by the wind. Oceanspray can grow in a wide range of habitats, including forests, shrubland, and riparian areas. It is a hardy, fast-growing plant, and is often found in disturbed areas such as recent logging sites or roadsides. It can also grow back from its roots if the top is destroyed, and is often one of the first plants to grow back after a forest fire.
Another name for the plant is ironwood, because its wood is very strong and can be further hardened using fire. Many coastal indigenous groups used its wood to make furniture, digging sticks, spears, harpoons, and bows and arrows. Both the leaves and the seeds could be cooked and eaten, and the plant also has many medicinal uses. For example, a poultice made of the leaves was used to help heal burns and sores.
Oceanspray is an important plant for many native pollinator species in BC. Also, several native butterfly species, including the Lorquin’s admiral and pale tiger swallowtail, lay their eggs on its leaves. Because of this, it is one of the species that we are going to have in our native pollinator meadow, for attracting more native pollinator species to the park. Oceanspray is also important to songbirds, which use it as a nesting area and feed on insects which are attracted to its flowers.