Oemleria cerasiformis (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Landon
Indian Plum, Oso-berry
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Synonym(s): Nuttallia cerasiformis, Osmaronia cerasiformis
USDA Symbol: OECE
This shrubby harbinger of spring can grow 15-20 ft. tall, with many long, slender stems. The pendent, green and white flower clusters - male and female on separate plants - appear just before the thin, pale green leaves. Both flowers and leaves are out long before those of most other deciduous shrubs in the area. The "plums" in fall are olive-sized purple berries.
Indian Plum is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae) which includes about 2000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide; approximately 77 native and 9 naturalized tree species and many species of shrubs and herbs in North America; including service-berries (Amelanchier), hawthorns (Crataegus), apples (Malus), plums and cherries (Prunus), and mountain-ashes (Sorbus).
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.
Fruit: Black, aggregated drupes.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: CA , OR , WA
Native Distribution: B.C., s. from the coast to the w. slope of the Cascades to n. CA & the w. side of the Sierra Nevada
Native Habitat: Stream banks; roadsides; open woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Moist to drier soils.
Conditions Comments: Because of its size and suckering habit, this is not for choice places in the formal garden. Its best uses are in large woodlands and wild, open areas and for land reclamation.
BenefitUse Wildlife: The fruits are a favorite of birds and other wildlife.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Easy to grow from treated seed or twig cuttings.
Seed Collection: Clusters of ripe fruit can be stripped by hand.
Seed Treatment: A lengthy cold-moist stratification will overcome seed dormancy.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Oemleria cerasiformis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Oemleria cerasiformis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Oemleria cerasiformis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-07
Research By: TWC Staff