Indian Plum

Identification and Propagation

Indian Plum aka Osoberry. Ripe, Raw, Shrub
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Indian plum aka Osoberry is a native North American shrub, it grows wild in the Western USA and Canada. It is generally found in sunny areas with ample water, such as by ponds and stream banks. It can and has been domesticated but not commercially, many gardeners and home owners have incorporated it into their landscape and it makes for delicious eye candy.

It reaches a height of 4 to 15 feet, sometimes a tad more, and produces blossoms earlier in the spring than most other flowering trees and plants. It sometimes produces flowers in late winter in anticipation of spring.

The edible fruits look like miniature plums , they start out as an Orange-Yellow and ripen to a purplish blue. Amerindians also make tea of the bark, and chew on the twigs which serve as a mild anesthetic and purported aphrodisiac. The leaves are also edible and also used by the Indians, they smell somewhat like cucumber and taste a tad like it also.

Although the tree as stated makes "Delicious" eye candy, the same can not be said for the fruit. The fruit is quite bitter if eaten before fully ripe, when eaten raw and ripe it is a wee bit bland, tasting like a weak plum with a hint of blueberry, not a real taste bud pleaser. It is best preserved with added sugar in jams, jellies, pies and so forth.

The Indian Plum can be propagated via seeds or hardwood cuttings. It produces suckers prolifically which are easily removed to produce clones or grafts. This is best done in the winter months.

Seeds should be cold stratified for best succes rates in germination. Suitable seeds should be sown in the spring. Stored seed should be cleansed of clinging fruit residue before planting. More than one plant is advised to produce fruit they should be spaced at least 5 feet apart, but no more than 20 feet.

In climates, such as its native habitats water once a week unless a dry spell occurs during which it should be watered more frequently. In other regions use judgement, it does best when well watered as it is commonly found growing near a water source.

Indian Plum does best with light shade for at least a portion of the day cycle. Full sunlight especially in the searing heat of mid summer can be lethal.

Sources for Oso Berry - Indian Plum Trees

Las Pilitas Nursery            Tree Farm