It’s not really a pretty shrub, but still, I’d like a thicket of Indian Plum in our border.
It’s specifically because of the leaf buds & blossoms in February. They calm my cabin fever & help me through the last several weeks of winter. Against the grey skies, the leaves look so perky & hopeful … and determined. Even the inconsequential greenish-white flowers are exciting when little else is happening.
Indian plum grows happily in Partial Shade, not needing the prime Full Sun real estate that I protect for really showy plantings. It’s common across the coastal Pacific Northwest below Vancouver Island.
When we lived on Cedar Hill, there was a large suckering thicket behind our house, at the base of the rocky slope. The robins nested in the multiple stems of the 12-15 ft tall thicket. The shrubs did their thing in the understory before the gary oaks hogged most of the sunshine through summer.
Perhaps best known as Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis, is sometimes called June Plum, Osoberry, Oregon Plum and Bird Cherry.
It might sound like a promising fruit source, but those inconsequential flowers turn into inconsequential fruits. I’ve heard the berries shift through a pretty orange kaleidoscope before maturing into a dark purple-black, but I can’t say I’ve noticed. The shrub blends into the background as other plants compete for attention in later spring.
I did check out the un-inticing tiny black plums once.
Perhaps it’s best to consider it wildlife forage.
The early flowers feed hungry resident Anna’s hummingbirds e and signal that the Rufus will soon be returning from warmer climes. The leaves & fruit provide forage for birds, deer & other mammals. Isn’t it just good Karma to host a thicket?
2 thoughts on “Indian Plum – A Winter Joy”
The Indian plum is starting to flower in sunny sheltered spots. Early natural nectar for the Anna’s hummingbirds.
Have you seen the Annas feeding on these flowers? I know Anna’s are full-time residents here since so many gardeners have added new blossoms that can sustain them through winter… They’ve sure stuck around our Viburnum bodnantense since it started blooming last November. They’d be even happier if I got a thicket of Indian plum going too1