General: Shrub or occasionally a small tree, 1-6 m tall, often suckering and thicket-forming; young twigs usually hairy; bark smooth to fine-scaly, reddish-brown to grey-brown, not peeling readily, the lenticels not prominent.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, elliptic to egg-shaped, 3-10 cm long; finely and regularly saw-toothed, abruptly tapering to a sharp-pointed tip, blunt to rounded or somewhat heart-shaped at the base, green and smooth above, paler and smooth to hairy beneath; leaf stalk with 1 or 2 prominent glands near the top.
Flowers: Inflorescence a long (5-15 cm) bottlebrush-like cluster, at the end of a short leafy spur-shoot, of numerous stalked flowers; corollas white, saucer-shaped, the petals 5, nearly circular, 4-6 mm long; calyces smooth, 5-lobed, the oval lobes blunt, irregularly glandular-toothed or ragged, 1-1.5 mm long; ovaries superior; stamens about 25.
Fruits: Fleshy drupes with a large stone (cherries), egg- to globe-shaped, 6-12 mm long, shiny, red, purple or black; seeds 1.
Notes: Two subspecies occur in BC:
1. Leaves smooth beneath or hairy in axils of veins; drupes bluish-purple to black; plants from east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains................ ssp. melanocarpa (Nels.) Taylor & MacBryde
1. Leaves velvety-hairy beneath; drupes black; plants from west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains.................... ssp. demissa Taylor & MacBryde
Dry to mesic forest edges, open forests, thickets, bluffs, grassy rocky slopes, river terraces, gullies, draws and streambanks in grasslands, and clearings in the lowland and montane zones; common in S BC, especially east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent northward; E to NF and S to NC, TX and CA.
A shade-intolerant. submontane to subalpine. transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs in continental cool temperate and cool semiarid climates on moderately dry to fresh. nitrogenrich (occasionally weakly alkaline) soils (Moder and Mull humus forms). Its occurrence increases with increasing temperature and continentality. and decreases with increasing precipitation and latitude. Occasional in immature broadleaf forests on water-shedding sites on leeward Vancouver Island and in the coast -interior ecotone. A nitrophytic species characteristic of young-seral, continental forests.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2022-01-17 1:19:07 AM
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