Oemleria cerasiformis (Hook & Arn.) Landon (Osmaronia cerasiformis [T. & G.] Greene)
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 (five to ten) 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 five, egg-shaped, 5-6 mm long, spreading (shorter, narrower and erect on female flowers); calyces 6-7 mm long, five lobed, the lobes about equaling the top-shaped hypanthium; ovaries (female plants) usually five, 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, one to five per female flower; seeds one per drupe (Pojar et al., 1994). Photo by Dave Polster.
Moist to dry open forests, forest edges, thickets, stream banks, clearings and roadsides in lowland zone (Douglas et al., 1999).
In broad-leaved forests on water-receiving sites, soils are melanized and often gleyed. Moder and Mull humus forms (Klinka et al., 1999).
Nitrogen-rich soils (Klinka et al., 1999).
soil reaction salinity
pH 5.5 to 7.5 (Young 2001).
Moist to very moist, often with fluctuating water table (Klinka et al., 1999).
Shade to full sun (Klinka et al., 1999).
Pioneer seral on moist sites. Persists into late seral stages because of shade tolerance.
bec zone subzone status
Moist stream sides, often associated with red-osier dogwood, blue elderberry and snowberry.
Good soil-binding qualities on moist sites. Possible bio-engineering species (Washington State Department of Ecology, 1993).
Good wildlife value - fruits attract birds and mammals.
Use in shrub border or use as a specimen tree, also in large rockery. Good foliage colour. First to leaf out in spring and turns bright yellow in late summer/fall. Somewhat attractive bark. Could use as a hedge or privacy screen (S. Bastin, personal communication).
Berries eaten in small quantities - fresh, cooked or dried. Some First Nations made a purgative tonic out of the bark (Pojar et al., 1994).
fruit ripening time
April to May
seed collection time
May to June
Annual to semi-annual
no seeds per kg
collection and abstraction
Fruits should be hand-picked. Extract seed by maceration in water using a blender and float off the pulp.
Seed is best sown in autumn and stratified over winter. Seeds should be stored in sealed containers at 2-4º C.
fruit seed dormancy treatment
Soak seeds in water for 24 hours and stratify 60 to 80 days at 4º C.
|Method||Success Rate||Time of Collection|
|Semi-hardwood cuttings||Good||July - August|
|Hardwood cuttings||Moderate||Late winter|
|Plant division||Good||Late winter|
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.