Osoberry in Bloom

Meet Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformas), also known as Indian Plum. It’s a Pacific Northwest Native, springing up in disturbed areas to hold onto soil with fibrous roots, and providing nectar to hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, and other pollinators when few other sources are available.


It’s fresh green leaves are brightening the woods right now. I think they look like they’re flying through the forest.


The bushes are blooming, too. They’re the first flowers I’ve seen in the woods–they have, in fact, been blooming for a few weeks now (I took most of these photos a week ago). Yesterday I noticed some of the flowers are dropping their petals, and soon they’ll be gone. I’m glad I caught them when they were at their peak.


The blossoms look delicate and sweet, but be careful.


Some of them smell like cat pee. I say some because osoberry is “dioecious”, which means it bears male and female flowers on separate plants. The female flowers have a cucumberish smell–or so all the articles I’ve read tell me. I stopped testing this piece of information after a few tries. There seem to be an awful lot of male flowers along the trail I walk.


The leaves, however, do smell somewhat like cucumbers. They taste a bit cucumber-y as well, but more bitter.


I’ve been spending some time on my hikes getting to know Osoberry, touching, tasting and listening to get a feel for her energy. Magically, she seems very soothing to me, and there’s something very airy about her–her open growth formation, the rising, wing-like patterns of her leaves, her white blossoms. I’ve read that she was used by some Native tribes to treat turberculosis and heal wounds and sores. All of this makes me feel like one might work with her at the metaphysical level to sooth a broken heart or wounded spirit, especially where there has been emotional or mental traumas that have left the spirit feeling raw and sharp.

At least she has that affect on me. Working in a busy office all week leaves me feeling like I’ve been scraped all over with a cheese grater. Interacting with Oemleria has been particularly affective in alleviating that feeling. For me it only takes looking at the plant, maybe touching the leaves, to feel refreshed energetically.

I think she might also be a valuable ally in sweeping away heavy, stuck, unhealthy energy and patterns. I’d love to hear if anyone has worked with her in this way.

I’ll be curious to see how her effects change as the blossoms fall and are replaced by berries.

More facts about Oemleria:

USDA Plants Profile

Indian Plum Plant Fact Sheet PDF

Oemleria at Wikipedia

Oemleria at Hanson’s Northwest Native Plant Database

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