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Oemleria cerasiformis 04012.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae[1]
Genus: Oemleria
Species: O. cerasiformis
Binomial name
Oemleria cerasiformis
(Torr. & Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Landon
  • Nuttallia cerasiformis Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.
  • Osmaronia cerasiformis (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Greene

Oemleria cerasiformis, a shrub commonly known as osoberry[5] or Indian plum,[6] is the sole species in genus Oemleria.

Native to the Pacific coast and ranges of North America, from British Columbia, Canada to Santa Barbara County, California, U.S.A.,[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]


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 (5.1–12.7 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;[9] 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.[9]



  1. ^ 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"]
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  3. ^ "The International Plant Names Index entry for Nuttallia Torr. & A.Gray ex Hook. & Arn.". 
  4. ^ "The International Plant Names Index entry for Osmaronia Greene". 
  5. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  6. ^ a b "USDA PLANTS Profile: Oemleria cerasiformis". 
  7. ^ Turner, Nancy J. (1995). Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples. UBC Press. p. 114. ISBN 9780774805339. 
  8. ^ Pojar, Jim; Andy MacKinnon (2004). Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Lone Pine Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-55105-530-5. 
  9. ^ a b "Oemleria cerasiformis Fact Sheet". Virginia Tech. 

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