© Kent Brothers (Photo ID #116)
Indian Plum is 5 m tall shrub that is found in North America from British Columbia south to northern California. In British Columbia, it is found in the extreme southwest corner of the province, on the mainland and on southeastern Vancouver Island. It is one of the first native species to flower in the spring, coinciding with the arrival the Rufous Hummingbird, and has been observed flowering as early as the last week in February. Flowers are in loose drooping clusters of white flowers and are mostly unisexual, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Fruits are initially orange in colour, turning blue as they ripen.
Medium to tall shrub, 1-5 m tall; stems clumped, arching; pith chambered; bark bitter, purplish-brown.
Alternate, deciduous, lanceolate to oblong-egg-shaped or elliptic, short-stalked, the stalks 5-10 mm long, the blades 5-12 cm long, not toothed, pale green and smooth above, paler and often sparsely hairy below; crushed leaves smell like cucumber.
Inflorescences loose, drooping, bracted, 5- to 10-cm long clusters, at the ends of short axillary branchlets, of several (5 to 10) stalked flowers; flowers mostly unisexual, the male and female flowers on separate plants, appearing very early in the year, as the leaves develop; corollas greenish-white, saucer- to cup-shaped, about 1 cm across, the petals 5, egg-shaped, 5-6 mm long, spreading (shorter, narrower and erect on female flowers); calyces 6-7 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes about equalling the top-shaped hypanthium; ovaries (female plants) usually 5, superior; stamens 15.
Fleshy drupes, like small plums with a large stone, bean-shaped, about 1 cm long, peach-coloured, ripening to bluish-black with a whitish bloom, 1 to 5 per female flower; seeds 1 per drupe.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present over the
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Nuttallia cerasiformis Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.
Osmaronia cerasiformis (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Greene
In 2010, this species was noted flowering on February 25th.