Physocarpus capitatus (Pacific ninebark) is a species in the Rosaceae (Rose) family native to western North America from southern Alaska east to Montana and Utah, and south to central California. It is found in the Coast Ranges and the Sierras. It is a dense deciduous shrub growing to 1 to 2.5 meters tall. The name comes from the appearance of the bark, which is flaky, peeling away in many layers. The shrub has distinctive maple-like lobed leaves 3-14 centimeter long and broad, and ball-like clusters of small white flowers with five petals and numerous red-tipped stamens. The unique fruit is an inflated glossy red pod which turns dry and brown and then splits open to release seeds. It is most often found near streams in association with wetland-riparian vegetation. Near the coast and at higher elevations it can take full sun. At lower elevation inland locations it benefits from part shade and moisture. It’s leaves change color in fall before dropping. The extensive root system is useful for retaining soil on slopes. It makes a very attractive shrub or small tree for central to northern California gardens. (Wikipedia) Photo credit: Calscape CC BY-SA 3.0.