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Indian Prune

Introduction of Indian Prune

            Scientific name - Oemleria cerasiformis

Binomially known as oemleriacerasiformis is a harbinger of spring season. This plant is a shrub that is popularly known with the names of osoberry or Indian plum. This plant also is a very unique plant as it is the only plant belonging to the genus of oemleria.

This plant holds its native roots in the lands of pacific coast and along the rages of North America also can be predominantly found in British Columbia, Canada, Santa Barbara County, California, and the United States of America. This plant is also known to be one of most early flowering plants marking the season of spring.

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About the plant

This interesting tall shrub grows up to the height of five meters in the best given condition. The plant grows tall and straight when exposed to the bright sun and in low light conditions it tends to bend towards the shady spots. The branches spring up from the central root system and does not grow from the trunk of the tree as seen normally in plants. The leaves of the tree adorn a bright green color that grows darker as it ages. The leaves are sized 3 - 5 inches in length and have an oval shape that tapers at the ends of the leaves. This shrub shows rapid changes as it is the first shrub to leaf out during early spring also makes it the first shrub to turn color as the season changes to autumn. The color of the leaves turns to a shade of sunny yellow during the month of August but it does cling on to the branch until the start of autumn.

This plant shows the characteristic of a dioecious plant, meaning a plant that is not self-reliant for fruiting. This is because the male and the female flowers are borne on different plants and they rely on the insects to enable pollination flowers.

Talking about the most beautiful part of the shrub; the flowers. They are beautiful greenish white flowers that are very distinct in nature. These flowers are found hanging in pendulous clusters and given an impression as they are trumpet shaped blossoms with an opening of " to " wide. The shrub can be easily identified because of its flowers, the flowers of this shrub are distinctively shaped and also as they blossom really early even before the shrub has completely leafed out. Adding to that the immature leaf of the plant stand up right while the leaves droop down showing a very unique characteristic.

The Indian Prunes also known as the fruits of osoberry are small fruits that very closely resemble the structure of small plums that turns its color to dark blue when it is fully ripe. The local residents of America include osoberry in their daily diet, apart from that they make tea of the bark of the tree. Adding on to the benefits that the tree gives, the twigs can be used as an aphrodisiac to enhance sexual moods and also used as a mild anesthetic.

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Nutritional Value of Indian Prune

Principle Nutrient Value
Protein .8g
Fat .07g
Fiber .6g
Carbohydrates 17g
Sugars 5.4-10.5g
Reducing sugars 1.4g-6.2g
Calcium 25.6mg
Phosphorous 26.8mg
Iron .76-1.8g
Beta Carotene .021mg
Thiamine .02-.024mg
Riboflavin .02-.038mg
Niacin .7-.873mg
Citric Acid .2-1.1mg
Ascorbic Acid 65.8-76mg

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Uses of Indian Prunes

Indian prunes are a fruit that is really popular, apart from its delicious off-spring fruit this tree has a lot to offer to the world. Starting with the most basic need a human, the wood from the tree is extremely strong that comes with a fine grained structure. The stem of the tree is very short mostly growing up to the size of 5cms, this may hinder the size of the product made using the same. This way all products made out of the stem of this tree are usually small in size. A numerous products such as self-bow, spoons, combs, knitting needles etc are made out of the stem of this tree. The wood also makes a well suited base for detail carvings given it has a fine grain structure.

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Health benefits of consuming Indian Prunes

Adding Indian prunes to one's diet could be a wise decision as fiber that is found in abundance in prunes helps in lowering cholesterol keeping heart diseases at bay. It also helps in satiating hunger and making one feel full thus keeping digestive tract running smoothly by avoiding constipation and digestive issues. A vital vitamin known as the vitamin K is also found in this fruit and it helps largely in building strong bones and also in clotting blood in the body. Apart from vitamin K, this fruit is rich in potassium that enables proper functioning of the bones and also keeps the blood pressure in check in case of over consumption of sodium.

This fruit like all other dried fruit is undoubtedly high on sugar content and ranks high on calorific value, it is still enjoyed in moderation by people even who are dieting and also diabetic patients all due to its unique benefits it has to offer.

Everything eaten in proportion is always beneficial to the body.

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Ideal cultivation areas

The osoberry plant dwells best in an ordinary soil, this soil should be well drained garden soil but should also become chlorotic on shallow soils. They should be planted in a well- drained moisture retentive soil in a very shady area. These plants can sustain in a climate that is about - 20 degrees. One can spot these shrubs growing well in woodland gardens and also in damp shady borders. They grow freely without hanging on to other plants and also tend to form thick dense thickets along the borders. The old plants of osoberry can also be revived by a method of cutting them back into old wood during the late winter, by doing this they will sprout again freely from the base of the plant. Owing to its dioecious nature male and female plants should be grown in order to propagate.

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Propagation of Indian prune

The seed of Indian prune require a method of cold stratification for 4 months 4c. It is best sown in a cold frame as it is due to ripe in the autumn season. The treated seeds should be sown as early as possible. When these seeds grow large enough to handle, one should pick the seedlings and plant them separately into individual pots and let them grow in a cold frame for their first winter. The position of this plant is then later shifted in the open post the last expected frost during spring or even during early summer.

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