Exploring Shrubs

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Exploring and Observing Shrubs

Shrubs exploration iconWhat makes a shrub a shrub? In the Exploring Shrubs virtual nature walk, biologist Byron Rot tours us through the native shrubs of our area, detailing what makes a shrub different from other plants (hint: a woody stem is key!)

Byron also outlines commonly seen shrubs including snowberries, huckleberries, ocean spray, devil’s club, the iconic Pacific rhododendron, and many, many more.

After watching the virtual nature walk, find a set of resources and activities on the page below.

Exploring Shrubs Virtual Nature Walk with Lead Naturalist Byron Rot


Exploring Shrubs Resource Recommendations from Byron Rot:




  • The Washington Wildflowers Smartphone App includes shrubs. It’s a very helpful field tool with extensive information and good search tools, available for iPhones and Android devices.

Exploring Shrubs Activities from Byron Rot:

  • Visit your sit spot and see how many different kinds of shrubs you can find. Look closely at the branches, flowers, and/or berries. Do you see any critters on the shrub that might be taking shelter there, eating the leaves and fruits, or pollinating the flowers?
  • Choose a focal species shrub to study more deeply. After you have chosen a focal species to study, begin these activities:
    • Cut off a branch, preferably one that has fruit and/or flowers on it, like salmonberry, Indian plum, red elderberry, Oregon grape, red huckleberry, salal or any other native shrub that you find locally.
    • Identify your species using the resource suggestions for shrubs listed above.
    • Sketch your shrub and label it with its common and scientific names (with correct use of capital letters!), size, and main identifying features. These Sketching Tips and Resources may be helpful.
    • Use the resource suggestions listed above to learn about your shrub species and write down one thing about it that you find particularly interesting.
    • Rinse and repeat. Want more to do? Choose another shrub and start again!
  • Create a nature journal and record your shrub discoveries.