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Oemleria cerasiformis - (Torr.&A.Gray.)Greene.
Common Name Oso Berry, Indian plum
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been found for this plant. it belongs to a family where the leaves, seed (and sometimes also the fruit) often contain significant amounts of hydrogen cyanide. This is the toxin that gives almonds their characteristic flavour and it should only be eaten in very small quantities. Since the fruit of this species is said to have almond-scented fruit it would be unwise to eat a large quantity of it. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Rocky valleys and canyons by streams, roadsides and moist to fairly dry open woods[60].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade


Oemleria cerasiformis Oso Berry, Indian plum

Oemleria cerasiformis Oso Berry, Indian plum
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Oemleria cerasiformis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 4 m (13ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Mar to April. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Nuttallia cerasiformis. Osmaronia cerasiformis.

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[46, 61, 118, 183]. A poor flavour[106]. The fruit looks like a small plum but is very bitter with an almond flavour[11]. The fully ripe fruit loses most of its bitterness[256]. The fruit only has a thin layer of flesh[200]. The fruit can be dried and stored for winter use[257]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Laxative;  Poultice;  TB.

The bark is mildly laxative[257]. A decoction has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis[257]. A poultice of the chewed burned plant, mixed with oil, has been used to treat sore parts of the body[257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained garden soil[11, 200], but becomes chlorotic on shallow soils over chalk[200]. Prefers a well-drained moisture retentive soil in a shady position[200]. Requires a sunny position according to another report[182]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[184]. This species grows well in a woodland garden or in a damp shady border[200]. The plants often sucker freely and can form dense thickets[188]. Old plants can be rejuvenated by cutting them back hard into the old wood in late winter, they will resprout freely from the base[200]. Growth can be restricted by removing suckers and cutting old shoots back or down to the base in late winter[188]. Some, if not all plants are dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
The seed requires 4 months stratification at 4°c. It is probably best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering in spring. Takes 6 months[78]. Suckers, taken at any time in the dormant season[188].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Readers comment
   Mon Nov 21 2005
How do you know if a plant is male or female? Nurseries don't usually indicate sex on plants.
   Nov 16 2013 12:00AM
Checking out some US websites, the fragrance of the flowers resembles cat pee.
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Subject : Oemleria cerasiformis  

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