(Torr. & Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Landon
Native to the Pacific coast and ranges of North America, from British Columbia, Canada to Santa Barbara County, California, U.S.A., it is among the first plants to leaf out and flowers early in the spring. It reaches a height of 1.5–5 m and has lance-shaped leaves 5–12 cm long.
The fruits of osoberry are edible and resemble small plums which are dark blue when ripe. Indigenous peoples of the Americas include osoberry in their diets, make tea of the bark, and chew its twigs to use as a mild anesthetic and aphrodisiac.
Osoberry is an erect, loosely branched shrub reaching 15 feet (4.6 m) in height. Leaves are alternate, simple, deciduous; generally elliptical or oblong, 2–5 inches (5.1–13 cm), light green and smooth above and paler below; margins are entire to wavy; fresh foliage smells and may taste like cucumber. Among the first plants to leaf-out in the spring. The plants are dioecious; male and female flowers occur on different plants. The flowers are whitish-green, bell-shaped, often appear in late winter before the leaves, and are about 1 cm across. The bitter-tasting fruit occurs in ovoid drupes up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) long, orange or yellow when young but blue-black when mature; borne on a red stem. The twig is slender, green turning to reddish brown, pith chambered, conspicuous orange lenticles. Bark is smooth, reddish brown to dark gray.
An Indian plum shrub as its leaves begin to yellow in mid-summer, Pierce County, Washington
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- Potter, D., et al. (2007). Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 266(1–2): 5–43. [Referring to the subfamily by the name "Spiraeoideae"]
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
- "The International Plant Names Index entry for Nuttallia Torr. & A.Gray ex Hook. & Arn.".
- "The International Plant Names Index entry for Osmaronia Greene".
- "USDA PLANTS Profile: Oemleria cerasiformis".
- Turner, Nancy J. (1995). Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples. UBC Press. p. 114. ISBN 9780774805339.
- Pojar, Jim; Andy MacKinnon (2004). Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Lone Pine Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-55105-530-5.
- "Oemleria cerasiformis Fact Sheet". Virginia Tech.
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