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Oemleria cerasiformis, photo courtesy of Mark Turner
Oemleria cerasiformis, photo courtesy of Mark Turner

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Zones 4-9, 14-24
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Full, Partial, Shade
Ample Water

Oemleria cerasiformis

Oso Berry, Indian Plum
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees, Flowers

In damp woodlands and meadows in the Northwest and in parts of California, oso berry’s tiny, almond-scented white flowers are among the first signs of spring. This is a fine-textured, suckering shrub that grows to 3–15 ft. tall, eventually spreading into thickets that become 12 ft. wide or more. Lance-shaped leaves are dark green on top, gray-green and slightly fuzzy beneath. Crushed leaves have a fresh scent like that ofcucumbers. Bell-shaped, fragrant blooms in drooping clusters up to 4 in. long appear with the foliage, which emerges very early in the year. Male andfemale plants are separate; ifa male is nearby, females willbear small (less than 1/2 in.long) blue-black fruits that arerelished by birds and other wildlife. Nice addition to a shrubborder or woodland planting.To keep the plant looking itsbest, remove some of the oldest stems after bloom. Or revive an old, overgrown shrub by cutting it back almost to theground.

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