Notable Natives – Indian Plum

Oemleria cerasiformis

Oso Berry or Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) is a very early leafing and flowering shrub, reaching 10 to 12 feet tall and suckering, but usually with a wispy or delicate overall appearance. New green tips are readily visible by late January, and full sized leaves and white flowers emerge in February to March.  The spring flowers are followed by a cluster of small plum-like berries, much loved by wildlife (and edible but too bitter to enjoy to humans).

Oso Berry has male and female flowers borne on separate plants; both are required for female plants to bear fruit.  In the wild, look for this bright spot in a drab season along streambanks and low elevation hillsides in sun or partial shade.  In your landscape, Oso Berry is perfect for those transitional areas: it will be happy in any light except the hottest afternoon sun or deepest shade, and likes some moisture but neither standing water nor very dry sites.