Oemleria cerasiformis
Common name: 
Indian Plum
Oso Berry
ohm-LER-i-a se-ra-si-FORM-is
Osmaronia cerasiformis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous shrub 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) high, erect.  Stems have orange lenticels and chambered pith.  Leaves broadly oblong, narrowed at each end, 4-6.5 cm long, short petiole, young leaves have a cucumber-like flavor.  One of the first native shrubs to bloom in the spring, plants usually dioecious -- male or female flowers on separate plants, flowers green-white, in hanging clusters at ends of leafy branches.  Fruit ovoid (cerasiformis: cherry shaped), orange-red then red-purple, quickly consumed by, and seeds spread by, birds.  Although bitter and astringent, they are "quite palatable when fully ripe" (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994).
  • Part shade.  Good for wild plantings where its size and suckering habits are not a disadvantage.  A nearby male plant needed for female plants to set abundant fruit.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (5) 6      Native to lowland wetland forests from British Columbia to California.
  • One of the first native woody plants to flower.  Optimistic observers consider its bloom a sign that spring is near, whereas pessimistic folks consider such a view as “excessive exuberance”.  When young leaves are chewed, the flavor is reminiscent of cucumbers.

  • Oemleria: after Herr Oemler of Dresden who supplied American plants to the German botanist H.G.L. Reichenbach in the mid-1800s.
  • cerasiformis: cherry-shaped, the fruit
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: west side of Moreland Hall "arboretum".
Click image to enlarge
  • in habitat, early spring flowering

    in habitat, early spring flowering

  • in a landscape, flowering

    in a landscape, flowering

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flower clusters and young leaves

    flower clusters and young leaves

  • flowers


  • male flower

    male flower

  • female flower

    female flower

  • leaf


  • fruit development

    fruit development

  • in habitat, fruiting

    in habitat, fruiting

  • fruit clusters

    fruit clusters

  • plant habit, mid-summer

    plant habit, mid-summer

  • summer foliage

    summer foliage

  • young stems

    young stems

  • stem, bark

    stem, bark

  • winter twigs and buds

    winter twigs and buds