common ninebark Rosaceae Physocarpus
opulifolius (L.) Maxim., orth. cons. symbol: PHOP
Leaf: Alternate, simple, deciduous, maple-like, palmately lobed (3 to 5 pointed lobes); almost circular in outline, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter, blunt serrated margin; dark green above and paler below.
Flower: Perfect, small (1/2 inch) white to faint pink flowers borne in dense, upright, hemispherical clusters, appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: Small (1/4 inch long) pointed follicles borne in dense, upright hemispherical clusters, initially they are red and later turning a bright reddish brown.
Twig: Slender and red-brown; young twigs have tight bark but on older twigs the bark splits and exfoliates in long strips; buds with many obvious loose scales, leaf scars raised with lines running downward angling the twigs.
Bark: Thin and yellow-, orange-, or red-brown; shredded and exfoliating in long strips, especially on older stems, fairly attractive.
Form: A large erect shrub to 10 feet tall.
Looks like: ninebark - mallow ninebark - mountain ninebark - red maple
Additional Range Information: Physocarpus opulifolius is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting common ninebark.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson