Oelmeria cersiformis - Indian Plum

Oelmeria Cerasiformis

Family: Rosaceae

Common Name(s): Indian Plum

General Bloom Time:  First flower and leaf expected out in February. Ripe fruit or seed expected in May.

Identification: Shrub or small tree 1.5-5m tall, one of the first plants to leaf out and flower in the spring, bitter bark, purplish brown

Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, pale green, broadly lance-shaped, 5-12cm long, not toothed, strong cucumber-like smell when crushed

Fruit:  Peach colored, ripening to bluish-black with a whitish bloom, like small plums (hence the name) about 1 cm long, edible but bitter with a large pit

Flower:  Greenish-white, about 1 cm across, male and female flowers on separate plants, 5 petals, 15 stamens in 3 (usually before the leaves) unusual fragrance (something between watermelon rind and cat urine) in 5-10 cm long clusters hanging from leaf axils

Habitat: Dry to moist, open woods, stream-banks, open areas(especially roadsides), low elevation 

http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Oemleria-cerasiformis/osoberry4.jpg http://plants.usda.gov/gallery/standard/oece_001_shp.jpg http://www.wnps.org/plantimages/oemelaria_cerasiformis_05_mm.jpg

 

Distribution: British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California

Fun Facts: 

  - Sometimes called “choke-cherries” because of their bitterness when under-ripe

- The Saanich made tea tonic out of the bark and twigs were chewed and applied to sore places

Where you can find this species in Portland: Common in Forest Park and other wooded areas

References: 

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=OECE

Pojar, Jim, A. MacKinnon, and Paul B. Alaback. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Redmond, WA: Lone Pine Pub., 1994. Print

Portland Budwatch Plant Development Calendar 2010

Captured Phenology Stages of Oelmeria cersiformis - Indian Plum 

Leaf Emerging Still Emerging - Not Yet Unfolded (Close!)
Photograph taken by Kerissa Fuccillo Photograph taken by Kerissa Fuccillo


AttachmentSize
Oelmeria cerasiformis.doc82.5 KB