Habit: commonly found growing as a small tree, occasionally more shrub like. The bark is gray and smooth to the touch. Shiny green leaves clustered near the ends of twigs are oval with veins indenting the leaf to make the surface wavy. The leaves are typically deciduous, although in warmer climates the plant can hold onto them as though they were semi-deciduous. The flowers are small and greenish yellow, borne in the leaf axils in loose clusters. The bright red fruit is small and quickly ripens to bluish black. Leaves turn light orange to yellow in the fall.
Ecology: found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia south into California, and inland to Montana, in shady forests and chaparral woodlands under 6500 ft (2000 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to full shade, in moist to semi dry soil.
Birds love the berries. Found as the main ingredient in the natural laxative ‘Cascara Sagrada’, and promoted for healthy colons.