Ceanothus thyrsiflorus / BLUEBLOSSOM
Large evergreen shrub or small tree to 10-20 ft. tall. Flaring crown of small, narrow, shiny leaves is covered in fuzzy flower clusters in various shades of blue in spring. Stunning in bloom, when it is buzzing with bees and butterflies. Needs sun and good drainage; may be frost-bitten in coldest areas. Very fast growing.
Cornus stolonifera (C. sericea) / REDTWIG DOGWOOD
Found in wet places from coast to coast, this large deciduous shrub grows fine in average soil. It is most acclaimed for its red twigs, which show off in winter. The leaves color well in fall ; puffy white flowers and white berries give interest most of the other months. Suckering and thicket-forming habit may rule it out of smaller places.
Garrya elliptica / COAST SILKTASSLE
Large evergreen shrub to 10 ft. or more. Thick, rounded, wavy-edged leaves give a nice texture. Silvery-green flower tassles, 6 in. or longer, hang like icicles in winter. Female plants bear purple fruits. Best in sharp drainage, full sun; leaves may be spotted with fungus in damp shade. The hybrid G. x issaquahensis is very similar and usually more adaptable.
Gaultheria shallon / SALAL
Evergreen understory through countless acres of Northwest forest. Rounded leaves make dense tangles, eventually to 6 ft. tall. Small, charming pink and white flowers lead to edible blue-black berries. Favors shady places, competing well with tree roots, but is adaptable to bright light. New plantings slow to establish; plant extras to make up for casualties.
Ledum glandulosum / TRAPPER'S TEA
Evergreen shrub 3-4 ft. tall, related to rhododendron. Narrow, delightfully aromatic, 2 in. leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers. Found in bogs, but adaptable to average soils. Easy to grow, hard to find.
Rhododendron macrophyllum / COAST RHODODENDRON
This large evergreen shrub is a regional symbol, though it is well outnumbered in gardens by hybrids. The native carries tight clusters of rose pink flowers, sometimes darker, rarely white, in May. All larger-leaved rhododendrons prefer part or full shade.
Rhododendron occidentale / WESTERN AZALEA
Large deciduous shrub 6 - 10 ft. tall. Beautiful white or creamy flowers, variously tinted or marked pink and gold, very fragrant, May into summer. Narrow, glossy leaves color red and yellow in fall. From wet places, but drought hardy, especially in light shade.
Spiraea densiflora / MOUNTAIN HARDHACK
Hikers admire this low, rounded mountain shrub for its attractive bluish foliage and fuzzy buttons of deep rose flowers in summer. Fall color is a blend of yellow, orange and purple. Grows 2-3 ft. tall and as wide; best in sun and moist soil.