Saskatoon Serviceberry

Amelanchier alnifolia
ROSACEAE, The Rose family

Here’s a lovely little tree native to the Northwest. It is good in small gardens or along the street. In early spring the leaves unfold a rusty olive color, maturing to blue-green. White flowers, reminiscent of those of their close relation the apple, appear in April, followed by fruits similar to a blueberry in August. The leaves turn brilliant orange, gold and red in autumn, then fall to reveal silvery grey bark on the elegant vase-shaped branches. All in all it has excellent seasonal interest. Plus it is highly edible, a favorite of both humans and robins.

I really think it looks best as an under story tree, where its branches can grow open and sparse. It is available as a multi-stemmed or single trunk tree, and can be expected to eventually grow to 20 feet tall and a bit narrower.

Serviceberry was an important plant to the Coastal Native Americans, as well as to the people of the Great Plains. There several species of serviceberries thrive, including Amelanchier stolonifera and A. arborea

At work today the cashiers and I made up a plant quiz, just for fun and to learn something new. The serviceberry was one of the featured plants, the other s were Halesia carolina and Gymnocladus dioicus. All three are North American natives that could be used much more.

I would like to start up a Plant of the Week program at work, to feature interesting things for customers as well as to help the staff (myself included) become more familiar with our plants. We’ll see if time and interest allows.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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