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  • Writer's pictureBlake Nursery

Serviceberry: Appealing Amelanchiers

Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shadblow, Sarvisberry, call it what you will, by any name this plant, botanically Amelanchier, is one of the loveliest we know. In early spring before leaves appear Serviceberry's white flowers makes a delicate, airy display. Summer brings blueberry-like fruit that's sweet, juicy and coveted by birds and jelly-makers. Fall brings spectacular red, orange foliage—you wish it would last forever. When this flamboyant foliage is shed on sees the graceful form of these often multi-stem plants, ideal for grouping to create a natural looking landscape. Finally, because of their relatively small size, they can often be tucked into small spaces around your home and yard where their subtle beauty can readily be admired.

Serviceberry in Autumn

For anyone specifically interested in Montana natives you'll want to ask for Amelanchier alnifolia or our native Serviceberry. A sturdy shrub, you will often see it gracing the banks of creeks and ditches, especially in spring when it's in full bloom. It was once a staple food for American Indians from the Prairies to the Pacific Northwest. The berries were sun-dried and stored for winter use along with other berries such as buffaloberry and chokecherry. Some berries were pounded and used as flavoring in meat stews and as an ingredient in pemmican, which when mixed with dried buffalo meat and fat and formed into cakes was a popular Indian food.

At Blake Nursery, Serviceberry is available as a small tree or shrub. 'Autumn Brilliance' is prized for its beautiful white spring flowers and brilliant red fall foliage. ‘Regent’ is grown for its fine fruit—see our Vegetable and Fruit Plants for more information on this variety.

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