Serviceberries: Summer-Fruiting Beauties

Serviceberries: Summer-Fruiting Beauties

Serviceberries (Amelanchier sp.), also known as juneberries or shadbush, are a family of large, summer-fruiting deciduous shrubs or small trees native primarily to North America.

For many years, serviceberries were an overlooked landscaping plant, but in recent years they have been growing in popularity due to their beautiful spring blossoms and fall color, delicious berries, and hardiness. Serviceberries are one of the most widespread shrubs in North America – there is at least one serviceberry native to every state in the United States except Hawaii, and every province in Canada except Nunavut.

The fruits are a popular summer food source for at least 40 known species of birds and other wildlife, including squirrels, foxes, deer, and elk. They taste similar to blueberries and are considered delicious by humans as well. Serviceberries can be eaten fresh or made into jams, pies, and more.

Serviceberry species native to North America include:

  • Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
  • Common serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), also known as Downy Serviceberry
  • Oblongfruit serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana)
  • Canadian serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
  • Low serviceberry (Amelanchier humilis)
  • Pacific serviceberry (Amelanchier interior)
  • Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
  • Nantucket serviceberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis)
  • Coastal serviceberry (Amelanchier obovalis)
  • Pale serviceberry (Amelanchier pallida)
  • Dwarf serviceberry (Amelanchier pumila)
  • Roundleaf serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea)
  • Running serviceberry (Amelanchier stolonifera)
  • Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis)

There also are a number of serviceberry hybrids available. One of the most popular is the Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora).

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frfx1086/503778309/