Douglas Fir   (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii) Douglas-fir Picture

General: 70 m tall (sometimes 80-90 m)

Leaves: Spirally arranged flat needles, 2-3 cm long with pointed tips. One groove on top of needles, two white bands of stomata on lower side.

Cones: Small reddish brown pollen cones; oval hanging seed cones. Changing green to reddish brown, three prominent forked bracts extend from scales.

Ecology:  Dry to moist sites.

Seed: Seeds mature August to early September. Collect the cones at this time when they appear brownish or purplish. The ideal collection time lasts only 2-3 weeks.  Dry the cones in well ventilated conditions where they can be stored for 3 to 4 months.  Open the cones by air drying in warm weather then heating in a kiln 35-40 for 1-2 days. Separate the seeds from the cone by shaking the dried cones.  Screen out the seeds and de-wing them. They may be stored at 6-9 moisture content, -5 to 0ºC for up to 20 years. Sow the seed in the fall to allow to stratify naturally over the winter or so in spring after 30-40 days stratification at 0-4ºC.

Grand Fir (Abies grandis) Grand Fir Picture

General:  Tall, straight, to 80 m, greyish-brown bark mottled white.  Begins smooth with resin blisters, but gets scaly and ridged with age.

Leaves:  Flat needles with rounded and notched tips.  Two white stomata line on underside, and grooved, dark green topside, two white stomata lines below.

Cones:  Yellowish pollen cones.  Yellowish green to green seed cones, erect, cylindrical 5-10 cm tall, high in crown.

Ecology: River flats and dry slopes from middle to low elevations.

Seed:  Cones ripen in August and disperse through September.  Collect by hand before seed dispersal.  Seeds require after-ripening time in cones, do not extract immediately after collection.  Store cones in mesh sack at low humidity for several months.  Separate by breaking cones and screening debris.  Store at 5ºC in sealed containers for in excess of 5 years.  Before planting cold stratify seeds for 2-4 weeks.  Sow at 0.5 cm deep and cover with mulch during spring.

Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) Sitka Spruce Picture

General:  Large evergreen to 70 m tall and 2 m in diameter, thin reddish brown-grey scaly bark.

Leaves:  Needles 1.3-3 cm long, flat, linear, 4-sided, yellowish-green or blue-green stiff and very sharp with two stomatal lines on upper surface.

Cones:  Red pollen cones, seed cones cylindrical and 5-8 cm long, reddish brown or brown with irregularly toothed, thin wavy scales.

Ecology:  Shade intolerant, limited to moist well drained boggy sites and areas of high precipitation.  Low to middle elevations, marine terrain and alluvial floodplains.

Seed: Collect ripe cones from mid Aug.- mid Sept.  Air dry and extract seeds.  Store in sealed containers at 0-2ºC for several years.   Sow in spring under 0.5 cm of soil and then mulch.

Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) Western Hemlock Picture

General:  Large evergreen, to 60 m, rough thick furrowed bark in old trees, slender twigs.  Drooping leader.

Leaves:  Short, flat, wildly and irregularly spaced needles with a rounded tip, yellowish-green topside with 2 lines of stomata on underside, twisted at base.

Cones:  Numerous small pollen cones, light brown seed cones oblong and drooping.

Ecology:  Shade tolerant, low to middle altitudes, dry to wet sites with preference for the latter.

Seed:  Dry cones and extract seeds by placing in a kiln for 48 hours.  Remove wings and store for up to 5 years.  Prior to sowing, soak in cold water for 24 hrs. and cold stratify.  Sow during spring preferably in a shady site.
Vegetative:  Can be done through layering, cuttings or grafting.

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) Western Red Cedar Picture

General:  Large tree to 60 m tall, fluted and buttressed at base, J-shaped branches that spread or droop slightly, then turn upward.  Grey to reddish-brown bark, tears in long fibrous strips; aromatic wood.

Leaves:  Scale-like, opposite in pairs in 4 rows, one pair folded, the other not, closely pressed to stem in overlapping, shingled arrangement that looks like a flattened braid, coloured glossy yellowish green.

Cones:  Pollen cones minute, numerous and reddish, seed cones have 8-12 scales, egg shaped, about 1 cm, and in loose clusters.  Green when immature, becoming brown, woody and upturned.

Ecology:  Moist to wet soils, shade tolerant, grow best in alluvial soils, may occur in drier habitats with rich soils and in bogs.

Seed:  Flowers in spring, cones opening in Aug.  Dry cones to collect seeds.  Sow in spring to depth of 0.5 cm, keep shaded for 1 year.
Vegetative:  Cuttings require wet soil and closed canopy areas.  Optimal growth occurs when live branches are layered and rooted.

Bigleaf Maple (Acer Macrophyllum) Douglas-fir Picture

General:  Large, deciduous, often multi-stemmed tree to 35 m tall.  Young bark green and smooth, often covered by heavy moss load.

Leaves:   5-lobed maple leaves, pointed tips, heart-shaped base.

Flowers:  Greenish-yellow, hang in elongated clusters at end of twigs.

Fruit:  Golden-brown, winged samara.

Ecology:  Dry to moist sites, of ten with Douglas fir, variety of soils, sprouts air roots into moss covering.

Seed:  Collect seeds as late in fall as possible before significant rains.  Sow immediately or store in air-tight containers as soon as possible.  Cold stratify seeds in fridge over winter and sow in Feb. or Mar.  in mulched beds, and grow for two years before outplanting.
Vegetative:  Salvage seedlings with about 2-3 leaves and transplant into containers.

Douglas Maple or Rocky Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum)

General:  Small deciduous tree up to 10 m tall, young twigs reddish, turning gray with age.

Leaves:  Opposite, 2-8 cm across divided into 3-5 lobes, turning bright yellow or crimson in fall.

Flowers:  Greenish-yellow, small; male and female flowers on separate or same plant, some flowers may have both sexes.  In terminal or axilliary clusters of about 10, appearing with leaves.

Fruit:  Tan, with large wing 2-3 cm long, pairs attached in v-shape.

Ecology:  Dry ridges- moist but well drained seepage sites occur on coast southward from Alaska.  Scattered stands near southern tip of Vancouver Island and along east coast.  Abundant in southern half of BC.  Found mostly in rocky areas, forest edges and floodplains.

Seed:  Seeds mature from Aug. to Oct.  The best method for collecting is hand picking samaras (dry one seeded with wing attached).  Seeds dried and stored to be planted in the fall.
Vegetative:  Sprout easily from root crowns following a disturbance.

Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa)

General:  Large deciduous to 50 m tall.  Sticky buds filled with resin.

Leaves:  5-15 m long, heart-shaped base with sharp, pointed tip.

Flowers: Male flowers with 40-60 stamens.  Females have 3 stigmas, flower before leaves open.

Fruits:  Green, hairy 3 part capsules.

Ecology:  Moist to wet sites, often found in floodplains and near to rivers.

Seed:  Collect seeds from capsules as they begin to open (late May to mid July).  Place in paper bags and allow them to finish opening in warm area.  Clean seeds with air stream.  Germination occurs rapidly, so store seeds immediately at 5ºC.  Moist seedbeds essential for high germination rates.
Vegetative:  Stem cuttings have best survival, take them during Nov.-Mar. when tree is dormant.  Discard tip portion  (5-10 cm).  Cuttings should be 1-2 cm in diameter and 25-50 cm long with a straight basal cut 1-3 cm above dormant bud.  Cold store in large drum with holed bottom, and layer with moist sand and peat moss.  Plant in rich soil with one bud above surface.  Live stakes should be 3.5 cm diameter and 1.2 m long, stuck directly into ground on site.

Quaking Aspen or Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

General: Similar to black cottonwood except that Quaking Aspen is shorter and has smaller leaves; tree, 15-18 m, quick growing, 0.3-0.6 m diameter, smooth whitish-green bark with rough scales on young trees, turning dark brown or gray and furrowed when mature.  Reddish brown slender twigs with pointed buds.

Leaves: Alternate, ovate, flattened stalk and serrated margins.

Flowers: Dense drooping catkins.

Fruit: Light green to brown, 2-valve capsule.

Ecology:  Disturbed sites, colder inland climates, forest edges and waterways, shade-intolerant.

Seed: N/A (see Rose, Chachulski, & Haase).
Vegetative: Preferred method via root suckers.  Collect dormant lateral roots in early spring.  Plant root cuttings that are 1-2 cm in diameter and 2.5 cm long in vermiculite and place in greenhouse for 6 weeks.  Cut suckers and root (2-3 weeks) in perlite:vermiculite and mist frequently.  Transplant to peat:vermiculite mix and grow at 15-25ºC.

Common Hawthorn or English Hawthorn or Red Hawthorn Common Hawthorn Picture
(Crataegus monogyna) (C. Oxyacantha)

General:  A large shrub or small tree, which grows up to 10 m tall.  It has rough and scaly gray bark, and 3 cm long thorns.

Leaves:  Deeply lobed somewhat oak-like.

Flowers:  Creamy white.

Fruit: Scarlet in colour, and stay on the tree in the winter.

Ecology:  At low elevations, in moist, open sites.

Propagation:  Not available.

Black Hawthorn or Douglas Hawthorn (Crateageus douglasii) Black Hawthorn Picture

General: Shrubs or small trees to 10 m tall with thorns that are 3 cm long

Leaves:  Deciduous, thick with dark above, paler below.  Top end with 5-9 lobes, margins saw-toothed.

Flowers: White, stinky, 5 petal flowers in clusters.

Fruit:  Large seeds that are blackish purple.

Ecology:  Found in moist to wet open areas such as thickets, streamsides, shorelines, and forest edges that have nitrogen-rich soils as in nutrient rich wetlands.

Seed: seed ripens in late July-August and fruit can be gathered off the tree or ground.  Extract the seed immediately by macerating in a blender and floating off the pulp.  Avoid excess heat.  Air dry seeds thoroughly before storing at 5ºC for up to 2-3 years.  A cold stratification of 5ºC for 84-112 days is necessary.  Acid stratification of dry seeds for 1/2 to 3 hrs.

Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) Common Hawthorn Picture

General:  Crooked, heavily limbed tree to 25 m tall.  Thickly furrowed, grey bark.

Leaves:  Deciduous, alternate, with deeply rounded-lobe oak leaves to 12 cm long.  Shiny, dark green top; with greenish-yellow, and hairy underside.  Often mottled brown in the summer due to gall wasp parasitism, dull yellow in fall.

Flowers:  Inconspicuous and small.  Separate male and female inflorescences for males and females on the same tree.  Male catkins, with females alone or in small clusters.  Flower at time of leaves opening.

Fruit:  Acorns, 2-3 cm, in shallow rough cups.

Ecology: Dry or rocky slopes, with well drained soils often at low elevations.

Seed: Collect during Sept.-Nov. by shaking onto canvas.  Plant windfalls immediately.  With fresh picked acorns, float out defective ones, and soak for 1 week before planting.  Plant 1.3 cm deep in beds or large pots to allow for extensive root development.  Ideal mixture is soil, peat and sand.  Fresh acorns should germinate rapidly in warm, moist environments.  Cut roots to encourage fibrous root system necessary for transplanting, and outplant in the following fall.  Can take 10 or more years to grow to 1 m.
Vegetative:  Sprouts vigorously from dormant buds at root collar, along trunk.

Bitter Cherry (Prunus emarginata) Bitter Cherry Picture

General: Shrubs or small trees, 2-15 m tall.

Leaves: Oblong/oval 3-8 cm long, finely toothed.

Flowers: White or pinkish, 5-10 cm in a flat topped cluster.

Fruit: Bright red cherries.

Ecology: Moist forest and along streams and as a pioneer on logged areas.

Seed: Fruit matures July - September when berries turn red.  Clean seeds by macerating in water to float off pulp.  Seeds do not need to be dried if they are to be used immediately.  If they are to be used within weeks or months of collection, the seeds only need to be surface dried.  For longer storage, dry for a longer period of time and store at 1-5ºC in sealed containers.  If sowing in the spring, seeds should be cold stratified at 5ºC for 90-126 days in a sand and peat mix before sowing.  If sowing in the fall, sow early enough to allow the seed embryo a period of after ripening before the ground freezes.  Outplant seedlings at 1-2 yrs.
Vegetative: Spring and early summer softwood cuttings can be used for vegetative propagation.  Treat with rooting hormone, grow with a mist and bottom heat.  Bitter Cherry also grows with root crown and root sprouts.

Pacific Crabapple (Malus fusca) Pacific Crabapple Picture

General: Shrub, 2-12 m tall, with sharp spur-shoots.

Leaves:  Deciduous, 10 cm long pointed at the end, toothed with irregular lobe, red or orange in fall.

Flowers:  White or pink, 2 cm apple blossoms in clusters of 5-12.

Fruit:  Small egg-shaped apples, green turning red or yellow, edible.

Ecology:  Open canopy forests and in sites near flowing water and spray, wet to very wet soils at low to mid elevations throughout coastal region.

Propagation: Not available.

Pacific Willow  (Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra) Pacific Crabapple Picture

General: Tall, slender, deciduous shrub or tree up to 12 m, tall, twigs have yellow buds.

Leaves:  Lance shaped leaves, with long tip approx. 5-15 cm long, edges are finely toothed and are reddish when young and green with a white underside when older.

Flowers:  Pale yellow and hairy. Catkins appear with the leaves on long leafy shoots.  Males to 7 cm long, and females to 12 cm.

Fruits: Smooth capsules 4-8mm long.

Ecology: Low to middle elevations, on Riverbanks, floodplains, shorelines and meadows or standing in quiet shallow backwaters.

Seed: Collect seed in early summer.  Sow in flats, keep moist in shade for 3-4 months once germinated.
Vegetation:  Take cuttings from mid-fall to early spring.  Allow to harden off before outplanting, or can be planted directly on site. Stems should be greater than 1 cm diameter and cut to 30-50 cm lengths.  Cut the lower end at a 45° angle and the upper end horizontally.  Bundle and store in plastic bags just above freezing for long-term storage; or wrap in burlap out of sun for short periods.  Can be planted year round, but best results from fall to spring.

Scouler's Willow (Salix scouleriana) Pacific Crabapple Picture

General: Tall shrub 2-12 m tall, with dark brown to yellow-brown branches.

Leaves: Deciduous leaves with broad middles tapering to a narrow base.

Flowers: Hairy, brown to black floral bracts 4-5 mm long, male catkins 2-4 cm long, female catkins 2-6 cm long, both appearing before leaves.

Fruit: Silky capsules 5-8 mm long with stalks to 2 mm long.

Ecology: Grows in areas with sufficient nitrogen content and a wide range of moisture.

Seed: Seed is dispersed soon after flowering in April-July.  They remain viable for only a few days without moisture.  Keep seeds moist at 0-5ºC for up to 6 weeks.  Light is also needed for good germination.
Vegetative: Take cuttings from mid-fall to early spring.  Allow to harden off before outplanting, or can be planted directly on site. Stems should be greater than 1 cm diameter and cut to 30-50 cm lengths.  Cut the lower end at a 45° angle and the upper end horizontally.  Bundle and store in plastic bags just above freezing for long-term storage; or wrap in burlap out of sun for short periods.  Can be planted year round, but best results from fall to spring.

Sitka Willow (Salix sitchensis)

General:  Deciduous shrub or small tree 1-8 m tall, branches dark brown to grey and sparsely hairy.  Twigs densely velvety, brittle at base.

Leaves:  Alternate, broad, tapering from above the middle to the base, 4-9 cm long, upper side bright green and sparsely silky, lower side satiny with short hairs pressed flat not glaucous.

Flowers:  Bracts brown, hairy, catkins appear before or with leaves, on short, leafy shoots.  Males 5 cm long, females to 8 cm long.

Fruits:  Silky capsules 3-5 mm long, stalks to 1.4 mm long styles to 1.2 mm long.

Ecology:  Streamside thickets, wetland margins, forest edges and wet openings, clearings and avalanche tracks, low to middle elevations.

Propagation: Not available.

Sitka Alder (Alnus sinuata)

General:  Deciduous shrub 1-5 m tall, pointed lateral buds lacking stalks, scaly yellow-brown bark often covered by lichens.  Trunk 25 cm diameter, grows crooked.

Leaves:  Alternate, doubly serrated, broadly oval with pointed tip and rounded base, shiny and slightly sticky underneath.

Flowers:  Long clusters of female catkins 1 cm long on long stocks.  Male catkins are longer (10-14 cm) found at end of branch.  Both open in time with leaves.

Fruit:  Small, wide, egg shaped nutlet, single seeded.  In clusters of 3-6 female cones 1.5-2 cm long.

Ecology:  Moist sites such as wet meadows, marshes and streamsides.  Grows on rocky or gravelly soils from mid to subalpine altitude sites.

Seed:  Collect from 4-7 year old trees during fall.  Cold stratify at 3ºC for 1-3 months.  Plant in mineral soil, keep moist and place in sunlight.
Vegetative:  Sprouting occurs from the root collar or stump; stem cuttings not recommended.

Red Alder (Alnus rubra) Western Hemlock Picture

General:  Deciduous, up to 25 m tall, bark is thin grey and smooth, wood rusty-red when cut.  High nitrogen fixing capability, and grows rapidly.

Leaves:  5-15 cm long, dull green and smooth, elliptical with wavy margins, slightly rolled under and coarse, blunt teeth.

Flowers:  Cylindrical catkins, male catkins 5-12 cm long, females 2 cm long, both appear before leaves.

Fruits:  2 cm brownish cones, stay on tree over winter.

Ecology:  Moist woods, streambanks, disturbed or logged out sites, often in pure stands, lower elevations.  Prefer loamy soils.

Seed: Higher cones work best for propagation.  Collect during late summer and fall.  Dry immediately in well ventilated area at 16-27ºC.  Clean seeds can be stored in fridge.  For longer storage, seed should be less than 10% moisture and placed in sealed container at 12ºC for up to 5 years.  Sow in spring by scattering on low nitrogen, high phosphorus soils and keep moist.
Vegetative:  Take softwood cuttings from trees less than 7 years old.  Shoots should be 6-12 cm long and 2-4 mm in diameter.  Dip in rooting hormone and plant 2-4 cm deep in perlite: vermiculite (1:1) at 25ºC until rooted.  Transplant into perlite: vermiculite: sandy loam (1:1:1) for 5 weeks.  Harden off in greenhouse, store cold over winter and outplant in spring.  Small seedlings can be collected and potted into containers.

Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) Pacific Ninebark Picture

General: Shrub, erect to spreading to 4 m tall, arching angled branches with brown shredding bark.

Leaves:  Alternate, deciduous, 3-6 cm long, toothed lobes deeply veined shiny dark green above, lighter with star-shaped hairs below.

Flowers: White small (4 mm) 5 petals, about 30 pink stamens, in round clusters.

Fruit: Reddish bunches of dried inflated follicles to 1cm long, with yellowish shiny seeds inside.

Ecology: Very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils and somewhat open places (streamside thickets, edges of moist woods coastal marshes meadows margins of lakes and streams), low to middle elevations.

Seed: Flowers from April to July. Seed can be collected from the end of August through September and sown in the fall.
Vegetative: Hardwood cuttings root better than softwood cuttings and should be 15 cm long, taken in mid winter. Store in sawdust and stick in late winter or early spring. Dipping in a rooting hormone may improve results.

Western Flowering Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) Pacific Ninebark Picture

General: Up to 20 m tall, irregular, many branched tree, blackish brown bark, smooth, but becomes ridged with age.  It is the provincial flower if BC.

Leaves:  Deciduous, opposite, and up to 10 cm long, deep green on top, greyish green below, and pinkish red in the fall, oval, with sharp tips and tapered towards the base.

Flowers:  Blooms in the spring and often again in the early fall, flowers are small (5 mm) and inconspicuous, with purplish, with greenish-white tips.  4-6 white or pinkish tinged, showy bracts surround the flower, and appears to be one large flower.

Fruit:  Found in clusters of bright red 'berries' (about 1 cm long).

Ecology:  Usually found on moist, well-drained sites, at low elevation, and along streams or in mixed forests.

Seed:  Collect seed between September to October.  Sow seeds directly in fall without removing from fruit.  Seeds can be stored for 2-4 years at 3-5ºC.  Scarify seeds in concentrated sulfuric acid for 4 hours, rinse, then cold scarify for 90 days.  Cover seeds with 1.3 cm of soil and mulch.
Vegetative:  Resprouts from root crown naturally, or take cuttings in June or July, treat with a root hormone, place cuttings in a clay pot, and transplant before 2 years, in a ring of native shrubs.

Arbutus or Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) Tule Picture

General: To 30 m tall, although usually shorter. Heavy branches, young trees have orange-brown bark, older bark is dark brownish-red and peels.

Leaves: Evergreen. alternate, oval, 15 cm long. Leathery and dark green above, with a whitish-green underside.

Flowers: White urns 6-7 mm. Fragrant in drooping clusters.

Fruits: Red-orange berries about 1 cm across. Surface is grainy.

Ecology: Dry, sunny, rocky sites at low to middle elevations. Often found with Douglas Fir and Garry Oak.


Seed: Collect from October to December. Dry or macerate and float off pulp and bad seeds. Can be stored at room temperature for 2 years. Moist stratify seeds at 0.5-4 C for 1-3 months, or naturally stratify outside over winter. Plant in sand-peat mix until large enough to handle.

Vegetative: Use cuttings and layering.

Birdseye, C., and Birdseye, E.G.  1972.  Growing Woodland Plants.  New York: Dover Publications Inc.

Lyons, C.P.  1976.  Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to know in British Columbia.  Toronto: JM Dent and Sons Ltd.

Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A.  1994.  Plants of Coastal British Columbia including Washington, Oregon and Alaska.  Vancouver: Lone Pine Publishing.

Rose, R., Chaculski, C.E.O., and Hasse, D.L.  1998.  Propagation of Pacific Northwestern Native Plants.  Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.

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