Prunus emarginata (Oregon Cherry)


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Plant Description: A deciduous shrub that can form an extensive thicket with slender upright branches. The bark is dark brown and smooth marked with orange-red horizontal raised lines (lenticels). The green leaves are oval shaped with a rounded end and finely toothed margins. Leaves turn yellow in the fall. The fragrant flowers have 5 white, occasionally pink petals, with long stamen, in clusters of 5-12. The fruit is small and red to black. Fruit is intensely bitter; the seeds contain hydrocyanic acid and should not be consumed.

  • Height: Up to 25 ft
  • Width: Up to 13 ft
  • Watering needs: Likes moist to semi dry soil
  • Sun needs: Sun to partial shade. Does not like sun competition from other trees.
  • Soil needs: Sandy, gravely soil
  • Bloom Time: April-May
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: This plant is found in the Western States from the coast inland to Western Montana on moist steep, rocky slopes, open forests, and near streams at low to mid elevations. 

Oregon cherry is valuable for elk, deer and bear and small mammals, rodents, and various birds eat the fruits. Excellent to use when battling stream bank erosion.

*Photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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