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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
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
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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