Thursday, February 17, 2011
Oemleria cerasiformis--Oso Berry
Oso Berry is blooming now at the UC Botanical Garden, which is in Stawberry Canyon. And if you look at the sign, the plant is from Strawberry Canyon. I might suspect that the plant was there before the Garden, except that it was accessioned in 1971. Or maybe it was growing there all along and they didn't get it identified until 1971? I don't know.
Oso means bear. Apparently bears like to eat the berries. In addition, other wildlife such as birds coyotes also eat them. I have read that they are so yummy that the humans usually don't get a chance to taste them. I'll try to come back later in the season and get a pic of the fruits.
This plant is native to California, Oregon, Washington and up into Canada. It likes full sun or part shade. It does fine with wet or dry soils. Seems like a very adaptable plant. They mature at 6-20'.
Native Americans chewed the twigs. Supposedly they have anesthetic and aphrodisiac properties. I wonder if it works...