Saskatoon Serviceberry – Amelanchier alnifolia

Saskatoon Serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia
Family Tiliaceae – Basswood &, Linden

have fragrant tiny flowers that attract a huge panoply of pollinators including bees, beetles, and butterflies.

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Saskatoon Serviceberry

44 years old at this photo [1]

Saskatoon serviceberry is known by a whole host of common names, including western serviceberry, alder-leaf shadbush, dwarf shadbush, chuckley pear, or western juneberry. A shrub in the apple tribe Maleae, this plant also sports edible fruit highly prized by wildlife and humans alike. With a sweet nutty taste, the fruits have long been eaten by Canada's Aboriginal people, fresh or dried as an ingredient in pemmican.  They are nowadays used in pies, jam, wine, cider, beer, trail mix and snack foods [2].

This species is widespread across vast swath of Alaska, Canada, and temperate North America. Several cultivars are very popular ornamental shrubs, grown for their flowers, bark, and fall color. George Washington planted specimens of Amelanchier on the grounds of his estate, Mount Vernon, in Virginia.

There are about 20 species of deciduous-leaved shrubs and small trees in the genus Amelanchier that are commonly called shadbush, shadwood or shadblow, serviceberry, wild pear, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum or wild-plum. Native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, these mid- to understory plants grow primarily in early successional habitats. At least one species is native to every U.S. state and to every Canadian province and territory. Two species grow in Asia, one in Europe.

Saskatoon Serviceberry blossoms
The various species of Amelanchier grow to 0.2–20 m tall; some are small trees, some are multistemmed, clump-forming shrubs, and yet others form extensive low shrubby patches(clones). The inflorescences are terminal, with 1–20 flowers, erect or drooping, either in clusters of one to four flowers, or in racemes with 4–20 flowers. The flowers have five white (rarely somewhat pink, yellow, or streaked with red), linear to orbiculate petals, 2.6–25 mm long, with the petals in one species (A. nantucketensis) often andropetalous (bearing apical microsporangia adaxially). The flowers appear in early spring, "when the shad run" according to tradition (leading to names such as "shadbush"). The fruit is a pome (like an apple), red to purple to nearly black at maturity, 5–15 mm diameter, maturing in summer [3].

  1. Saskatoon Serviceberry, Morton Arboretum accession 802-65-5 photos © Bruce Marlin
  2. Wikipedia, Amelanchier alnifolia
  3. Wikipedia, Amelanchier
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.

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Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing hawthorn, apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach, almond, mountain-ash and whitebeam. Many of these plants are of vital economic importance. The Rosaceae contain a great number of trees of temperate regions, the fruit of which contain vitamins, acids, and sugars and can be used both raw and for making preserves, jam, jelly, candy, wine, brandy, cider and other beverages.
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