Starting a series within a series, I will be highlighting shade plants that grow well underneath trees, especially California Live Oak. I have a deep shade area beneath many trees here in my own garden and i am constantly looking for plants that can help green this area. — Douglas

Cream Bush (Holodiscus discolor)

Another striking white plant that works in partial shade, according to the folks at Las Pilitas Nursery. white, of course, brings some evening and night interest to your garden, too.

Holodiscus discolor 3007.JPG

By Walter Siegmund (talk)Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


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The plant is common in the Pacific Northwest, and throughout California in diverse habitats including California mixed evergreen forest, California oak woodlands, chaparral, Coast redwood forest, Douglas-fir forest, Yellow pine forest, Red fir forest, and Lodgepole pine forest. It is native to regions of California including the High Sierra Nevada, Northern and Southern California Coast Ranges, Klamath Mountains, Santa Cruz Mountains, Western Transverse Ranges, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

It is found in both openings and the common understory shrub in a variety of forest overstories from 300–1,300 metres (980–4,270 ft) in elevation. It is found in a variety of habitats, from moist coastal forests to drier, cooler mountains of inland California. The plant is found in areas prone to wildfire, and it is often the first green shoot to spring up in an area recovering from a burn. It is commonly found in chaparral communities, a fire ecology ecosystem which evolved with burning periodically. It also may grow in areas cleared by logging.
In the California black oak woodland plant community, common understory associate species include Western poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), and coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta).[6] — Wikipedia

More information on Cream Bush (Holodiscus discolor):


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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas