Native plant of the month: Oso Berry, Oemleria cerasiformis

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Spring has finally sprung, here in the Pacific Northwest and there is no better herald of spring than our own native plant – Oso Berry, Oemleria cerasiformis. 

 

This time of year, Oso Berry is hard to miss – they are among the first plants to leaf out in spring and many produce flowers alongside their delicate leaves. When walking in an upland forest or along the gentle banks of a creek, Oso Berry can be seen – a candelabra of flowers and leaves – in a forest of bare twigs.

 

But Oso berry has more to it than just a pretty flower. This plant will produce fruits in the spring that are a staple for local wildlife. Oso berry is also a dioecious plant, meaning it has distinct sexes (male and female). The female plants produce fruits but will only if a male is close by.

 

Besides being a beautiful indicator of spring, Oso berry is a workhorse for restoration sites. Not only can it tolerate light levels of full sun to deep shade, but this generalist also has a reputation for succeeding in difficult locations with high toxicity in the soils.
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