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Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior). (By: Tauno Erik GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)


Season: Late Spring & Summer


Urban, Rural or Both: Rural mainly

Serviceberries (Amelanchier). The Serviceberries have many common names: Chuckley Pear, Juneberry, Serviceberry, Saskatoon, Shadblow, Sugarplum, Wild Pear, Wild-Plum. There are many species within this group. They can be shrub like, to tree sized. Because most of them have specific locations, you are best to do research for your own area. All have edible berries which are technically a pome. Apples are a pome, Rose Hips are a pome, and the Serviceberry is part of the Rose Rosaceae family. On most, the berries are sweet and juicy, some (like the Downy Serviceberry) the fruit is dry and tasteless. All are edible, none are poisonous, so if you know it is a Serviceberry, you can try the berry. One of the great bonuses of this member of the Rose family is that it does not have thorns. By the way, this group is one of the harder ones to distinguish one from the other, but from an eating perspective it is not that important once you are able to identify it as a Serviceberry. When red, the fruit looks like Crabapples, and usually has the remnants of the flower dried up on the bottom of the fruit like Rose hips.

Often bush sized, some can reach tree size. Even when tree sized, usually they are under 30 feet tall, and less than a foot in diameter. Very rarely they can grow larger. If it is tree sized, the trunk will have little taper, and be fairly straight. The bark is smooth and grey. There are vertical lines in the bark on larger trunks, which curve to one side - not straight up and down. The vertical lines are a darker grey. Almost every time I see one, they look more like a large bush with multiple trunks coming from the same place in the ground, or on a single trunk, dividing close the ground and the branches going upwards on an angle except for the center ones. The branches grow upwards, though sometimes will be bent over. The branches are slender. It is a nice looking tree the way the branches grow. The five long petal white flowers appear in clusters on thin stalks at the ends of branches as the leaves are growing.


Growing this plant in your home garden:


A great choice for growing at home if you have the right conditions. Other than one member - the Roundleaf Serviceberry - this is not a shrub/tree you will find common on alkaline soils like limestone soils. It does far better where the soils are neutral to acidic. For most of them you will need neutral to slightly acidic soil, at least partial sun, and a good amount of moisture in the soil, but not standing water. Not a good choice if your soil regularly dries up unless you are prepared to water. If you do have the right conditions, you will be rewarded with a beautiful flowering plant in the spring, great eating berries starting in late May in some areas and beautiful fall foliage. Really, I don't know why this isn't one of the most popular small trees/ large shrubs there is.

It will sprout suckers around it, but if you plant in a lawn area where you mow around it regularly, that is a non-issue, though it is good to remember the trunk is very sensitive to damage, so don't hit it or use a weed whacker right against the tender bark or you will girdle the tree and kill it. It doesn't even require hard pruning like the Raspberries and Blackberries, and even though this is a member of the Rose family - it doesn't have thorns. Not a good choice for alkaline (limestone) soils or clays. Takes well from root suckers. Often you can find varieties of Serviceberries at nurseries. If you want one, but live where the soil is dry, sandy, and neutral to slightly alkaline, there still is one for you - the Roundleaf Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea). If you live where the soil is dry and sandy or rocky but acidic, there is the Dwarf Serviceberry (Amelanchier spicata).

Growing from seed can be a slow process. There are different ways to do it, but the simplest is to just plant the seed where you want them - in the right conditions of course. When you get fruit in the fall, separate the seeds from the fruit and plant about 6 mm (1/4 inch) deep. Cover that with mulch and leave. Only a quarter to half will sprout, but plant enough to take that into consideration. They should start showing up the next spring. They are slow to grow at first, then take off in the second and third years.

Propagation by cuttings can be done, but the results can be disappointing. Best to transplant root suckers. These plants spread by the roots, so find where a small one is coming up from the roots of a larger one, cut off some of the root with it, and plant in a pot and put where it gets good light, but not direct sunlight. You must keep the soil damp. You can also plant one of these directly in the ground, but again make sure it does not dry out and does not get full, direct sun until it has fully established and is starting to grow again.

The fruit is small reddish or purplish, has several hard seeds, and on most the flesh is sweet and juicy. They ripen between late June to early August. Good fresh or cooked into pies, jams, etc. By the way, you can eat the seeds, and when cooked, the seeds soften and don't take away from the texture.

For more detailed growing instructions, go to my Wild Foods Home Garden website Serviceberry page.


The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) distribution map of all the Serviceberries in North America here. BONAP map color key here.

Recipe search on the web here (Google search) and here (Bing search).




Allegheny Serviceberry

Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis). Known also as the Smooth Shadbush. Often planted as an ornamental for the beautiful showy flowers and red fall foliage. The fruit is sweet and juicy.


Description:

Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis). Typical shape. (By: Sherief Saleh CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) leaves and fruit. (By: Vanessa Richins CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) leaves. (By: Sherief Saleh CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) leaf and bark. (By: Robert H. Mohlenbrock, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. South National Technical Center, Fort Worth.)


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) flowers. (By: Rob Routledge, Sault College CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Allegheny Serviceberry or Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) drawing. (By: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.)




Downy Serviceberry

Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea). Known also as the Common Serviceberry. The fruit is good to eat but is not as juicy as some (drier). Good for baked goods and jams. Others are better fresh.


Description:



Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) range. Distribution map courtesy of the USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, originally from "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr. .


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Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) illustration. (By: François André Michaux (book author), Augustus Lucas Hillhouse (translator), Pancrace Bessa (illustrator), Gabriel (engraver))


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Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) leaves. (By: Dcrjsr CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) flowers. (By: Dcrjsr CC BY-SA 3.0)





Mountain Juneberry or Oblongfruit Serviceberry

Mountain Juneberry or Oblongfruit Serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana). Other common names for it include: Bartram Juneberry, Bartram's Serviceberry, Mountain Shadbush, Mountain Serviceberry, Northern Juneberry.


This is one of the smaller Serviceberries and is associated with colder, wetter areas. Often found in fields in areas that have conifer forests. Very often near water where there is more light. The leaves tend to be bunched up near the ends of the branches. White flowers in the spring, and fruit in summer. Can be upright, or bent over especially in rocky areas.


Description:



Mountain Juneberry or Oblongfruit Serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Mountain Juneberry or Oblongfruit Serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana) illustration. (By: M.S. del, J.N.Fitch, lith. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, London., vol. 139)


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Mountain Juneberry or Oblongfruit Serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana) drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 293.)




Canadian Serviceberry

Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis). Known also as the Chuckleberry, Currant-tree, Juneberry, Shadblow Serviceberry, Shadblow, Shadbush, Shadbush Serviceberry, Sugarplum, Thicket Serviceberry. This Serviceberry is most likely to be found where the ground is damp to wet all the time. This is a very beautiful small tree/shrub when you see it in the early spring covered in white flowers or in the fall with its orange-red to crimson red fall foliage. The fruit is good to eat fresh or cooked.

There is a big caution here. This one grows where there is Poison Ivy, Western Poison Ivy and where there can be the very dangerous Poison Sumac. This problem is made worse by the very remarkable similar appearance of the mature trunks of the Poison Sumac and the Canadian Serviceberry. Both can get to about the same size, similar grey bark with light colored blotches. So, when you get to know this one, don't touch it unless you have ruled out it is not a Poison Sumac by looking at the leaves, flowers and fruit which are very different.


Description:



Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) in bloom. (By: Borealis55)


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) flowers and leaves. (By: Rasbak GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) twigs and leaves. Note how fuzzy or downy the back of the leaves and twigs are. (By: Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester. )


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) fruit in various stages of ripeness. (By: Sesamehoneytart Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) illustration. (By: Flora Batava of Afbeelding en Beschrijving van Nederlandsche Gewassen, (1872))


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Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) seeds. (Steve Hurst, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)





Inland Juneberry

Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior). According to the USDA, another name for it is the Pacific Serviceberry, though I find that odd, as its range does not touch the Pacific Coast. Only found west of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan according to some, more widespread according to others (see distribution maps below). Fruit is very good.


Description:



Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior) range. Distribution map courtesy of the USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, originally from "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr. .


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Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior) leaves. (By: Adam Hauner Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)


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Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior) blossoms. (By: Adam Hauner Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)


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Inland Juneberry (Amelanchier interior) just finished flowering. (By: Adam Hauner Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)




Nantucket Serviceberry

Nantucket Serviceberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis). Found only in on the east coast from upper USA to possibly scattered occurrences on the east coast of Canada. Up to 2 meters (6 feet) tall. Fruit is good fresh or cooked and is a purple-red.


Nantucket Serviceberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.




Roundleaf Serviceberry

Roundleaf Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea). Known also as the Red-twigged Shadbush and the Sand Serviceberry. All three of the common names are unusually descriptive. The leaves are almost round, the twigs are a reddish-orange, and this one tends to be found where the soil is sandy and neutral to alkaline. This particular Serviceberry can withstand drier conditions that most.


Description:

Roundleaf Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Roundleaf Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea) drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 293.)




Dwarf Serviceberry

Dwarf Serviceberry (Amelanchier spicata) or (Amelanchier stolonifera). Known also as the Low Juneberry, Low Serviceberry, Pigeon Berry, Quebec Berry, Running Serviceberry, Thicket Shadbush. This one has dense flower clusters with white five petalled flowers and grows in dry, sandy or rocky areas where the soil is acidic. This one forms thickets due to the roots which send up shoots around it, hence one of the names, "Running" Serviceberry.



Dwarf Serviceberry (Amelanchier spicata) or (Amelanchier stolonifera) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Dwarf Serviceberry (Amelanchier spicata) or (Amelanchier stolonifera) drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 292.)


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Dwarf Serviceberry (Amelanchier spicata) or (Amelanchier stolonifera) leaves and fruit. (By: Tauno Erik GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)





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Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching
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