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 Amelanchier subsp. var.  Serviceberry
'Amelanchier lamarckii in flower
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 20 ft to 40 ft
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: early spring
Exposure: sun
Water: moist, moderate
Features: deciduous, fall color
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 2 to 7.5
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: pink, white
Rosaceae > Amelanchier var. ,

The Serviceberry (Amelanchier), also known as juneberry, mespilus, sarvis, shad-blossom and shadbush, is a genus of about 25 species of small deciduous trees and large shrubs in the family Rosaceae.Serviceberries are very popular ornamental shrubs, grown for their flowers, bark, and fall color. In some areas an Amelanchier species is known as the currant-tree, but it is unrelated to currants (of genus Ribes). The genus has a wide distribution in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with the majority of the species in North America and single species in Europe and Asia.

The name serviceberry comes from the similarity of the fruit to the related European Service Tree, Sorbus domestica, a name that in turn is derived via the French sorbier from the Latin name for the tree sorbus, recorded by Pliny the Elder. A widespread folk etymology states that plant's flowering time signaled to early American pioneers that the ground had thawed enough in spring for the burial of the winter's dead. The name Amelanchier is derived from the French name amelanche of the European serviceberry. The city name of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan comes from a Cree Indian name misaaskwatoomin for the juneberry.

The leaves are alternate, entire or finely serrate, oval, 2-10 cm long and 1-4 cm broad, green, often turning brilliant orange or red in the fall. The flowers are white, 2-4 cm diameter, with five petals, and borne in terminal racemes of 5-25. The flowers appear in early spring, "when the shad run" according to tradition (leading to names such as "shadbush"). The fruit is a small pome, 1-2 cm diameter, blue-black, edible and often sweet, maturing in summer (whence the name 'juneberry').

Serviceberries are preferred browse for deer and rabbits, and heavy browsing pressure can suppress natural regeneration. Brimstone Moth, Brown-tail, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Grey Dagger, Gypsy moth, Mottled Umber, The Satellite, Winter Moth and other defoliating insects also have a taste for serviceberry. The same insects and diseases that attack orchard trees also affect this genus, in particular trunk borers and Gymnosporangium rust. In years when late flowers overlap those of wild roses and brambles, bees may spread bacterial fireblight.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Amelanchier (said to be a Savoy name). Rosàceae. Shad-bush. Juneberry. Ornamental woody subjects chiefly cultivated for their profuse white flowers appearing in early spring; some species also grown for their fruits.

Deciduous shrubs or small trees: winter-buds conspicuous, pointed, with several imbricate scales: Lvs. alternate, petioled, serrate: fls. in racemes terminal on short branchlets, rarely solitary; calyx-tube campanulate, adnate to the ovary, with 5 persistent lobes; petals 5; stamens 10-20; styles 2-5; ovary inferior, 2-5-celled, each cell with 2 ovules and subdivided : fr. a berry-like pome, juicy, with a cavity at the top.—About 20 or 25 species, most of them in N. Amer., 2 in Mex., 4 in Eu., and W. Asia, and 1 in E. Asia. The species are closely related and often difficult to distinguish, especially as numerous spontaneous hybrids apparently occur. For a detailed treatment of the species of E. N. Amer., see Wiegand in Rhodora 14, p. 117 (1912). In trade catalogues, they are sometimes confused with Aronia, which is easily distinguished by its compound corymbose infl., 5-celled mealy fr. and by the midrib of the Lvs. being glandular above.

The amelanchiers are deciduous shrubs or trees with simple, suborbicular to oblong serrate leaves, rather email white flowers in racemes followed by purplish or bluish black berry-like fruits. They are very desirable for ornament, producing a profusion of white flowers in early spring, and range from shrubs only a few feet high, as A. humilis and A. stolonifera, to trees attaining 40 feet in height, as A. canadensis and A. laevis. The latter species is perhaps the most beautiful, the white color of the pendulous loose racemes being enhanced by the red bracts and the bronzy red color of the unfolding leaves; the other species are pure white when blooming, the young leaves being covered by a whitish tomentum.

A. humilis and A. stolonifera and also A. sanguínea seem to be the best for fruit, which ripens later than the others; there is also a large-fruited form of A. laevis. See Juneberry. All the species mentioned below are hardy North and thrive upon a variety of soils and succeed well in dry climates; some, as A. sanguínea, A. humilis and A. rotundifolia show a preference for calcareous soil and grow well in dry situations, while others, as A. oblongifolia and A. Bartramiana prefer moist and swampy soil.

Propagation is by seeds sown soon after ripening or stratified and sown in spring and the stoloniferous species also by suckers; rare kinds are sometimes budded in summer on a common species or on Crataegus.

A. Cusickii. Fernald. Shrub, to 10 ft.: Lvs. suborbicular, about 1½ in. long, glabrous or nearly so: fls. large, petals oblong, about ¾ in. long: fr. scarlet, finally black. Ore. and Wash, to Idaho.—Not in cult., but ought to be intro., as it has the largest fls. of all.— A. utahensis, Koehne. Dwarf shrub with small obovate Lvs. scarcely 1 in. long, pubescent on both sides: racemes short, with very small II -. Utah and Ariz.—Not in cult.; the plant cult. under this name belongs to another species, to which could not be determined.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


All serviceberries need similar conditions to grow well, requiring good drainage, air circulation (to discourage leaf diseases), watering during drought and acceptable soil.


Propagation is by seed, divisions and grafting. Serviceberries graft so readily that grafts with other genera, such as Crataegus and Sorbus, are often successful.

Pests and diseases


Selected species

Note that species names are often used interchangeably in the nursery trade. Many A. arborea plants that are offered for sale are actually hybrids, or entirely different species.[1]



  1. Amelanchier arborea, Plant Profiles, consulted 2007-01-24

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