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Forestiera pubescens
Forestiera pubescens
Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Semi-desert. Washes, woodlands. Spring.
Butler Wash near the San Juan River, April 7, 2005.

Forestiera pubescens, a shrub/tree to fifteen feet tall, often forms thickets in moist semi-desert environments, frequently mixing with Oaks.  Forestiera's bark is light gray, smooth, and easily distinguished from the dark furrowed bark of the Oak.  Male and female flowers (see below) are on separate Forestiera trees and flowers on both are numerous in thick clumps.  The blue-black fruits are often abundant, very noticeable, and eaten by many critters.  

The plant was, according to William Weber, named "for [Charles Le] Forestier, physician of St. Quentin, ca. 1820, first botany teacher to Poiret".  Forestier died in 1820 and Poiret named this genus for him.  (More biographical information about Forestier.)

Forestiera pubescens
Forestiera pubescens
Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Semi-desert. Washes, woodlands. Spring.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, April 12, 2005.

Forestiera pubescens
Forestiera pubescens
Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Semi-desert. Washes, woodlands. Spring.
Butler Wash near the San Juan River, April 7, 2005.

Male flowers.

Forestiera pubescens
Forestiera pubescens
Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Semi-desert. Washes, woodlands. Spring.
Butler Wash near the San Juan River, April 7, 2005.

Female flowers.

Forestiera pubescens
Forestiera pubescens
Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Semi-desert. Washes, woodlands. Spring.
Squaw Creek Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2008.

The female flowers, pollinated by the male flowers, mature into tasty and numerous berries. 

Forestiera can occur in small patches, as it does in Canyonlands, or it can be abundant in thick stands as it is along the San Juan River through Farmington, New Mexico.  In the fall, as one strolls along the Farmington River Walk, one sees numerous groves of Forestiera clothed in a myriad of berries.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Forestiera pubescens