Oemleria cerasiformis (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Landon
Indian-plum (Indian plum)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

Photograph

© Kent Brothers     (Photo ID #116)


Map

E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Oemleria cerasiformis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Introduction

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.

Species Information

General:
Medium to tall shrub, 1-5 m tall; stems clumped, arching; pith chambered; bark bitter, purplish-brown.
Leaves:
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.
Flowers:
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.
Fruits:
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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Illustration

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.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
White
Blooming Period:
Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Purple
Present over the
Source:  The USDA

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Oemleria cerasiformis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Avg

Min

Max

Elevation (metres)
45 1 500
Slope Gradient (%)
10 0 84

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

35 45 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
D
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
165
Modal BEC Zone Class
CDF

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

CDF(158), CWH(7)

Habitat and Range

Moist to dry open forests, forest edges, thickets, streambanks, clearings and roadsides in the lowland zone; frequent on S Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the adjacent mainland; S to N CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Synonyms

Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Nuttallia cerasiformis Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.
Osmaronia cerasiformis (Torr. & A. Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Greene

Taxonomic Notes

In 2010, this species was noted flowering on February 25th.