Indian Plum is a tall deciduous shrub that produces small edible berries. The nutritious berries are a native food that have a delicious cherry like flavor after they have fully ripened. They are occasionally slightly bitter but cooking or drying the fruits easily removes any undesirable bitterness. The berries are rich in potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin K.
The Indian Plum is a highly desirable ornamental for native gardens. The Indian Plum produces small, beautiful, white flowers in early March that become pendant with the lengthening days. The flowers and leaves have a rich almond fragrance. The small fruits are a deep purple color.
Environment and Culture
The Indian Plum is Native to the Pacific Northwest and can be found in forest understories from Northern California up through British Columbia. The Indian Plum will grow well as an understory plant for the Pacific Crab Apple, the Oregon White Oak, The California Black Oak, and the California Foothill Pine. It can also be paired well with smaller fruiting shrubs like Salal, Golden Currant, Blackberry, Blackcap Raspberry and Salmonberry. Its berries come early in the summer season and for this reason are particularly favored by local birds.
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
The Indian Plum is hardy and unfussy and after establishment will only require occasional pruning. They will grow best in deep, well drained soils but can tolerate most soil conditions and so are suitable to the less prime spots in your yard. The Indian Plum harvest begins mid summer. Pick the fruits after they become tasty, if some bitterness remains try cooking or drying the berries to bring out their sweetness. They can be mixed with other berries to make a delicious compote or simply thrown fresh onto salads