We love this plant. Perhaps you have heard that the berries taste similar to blueberries. The berries do, in fact, taste similar to blueberries, but even better. This native plant is easy to care for and beautiful in every season. It is part of our Basic Starter Kit.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) is a small deciduous tree or shrub with attractive white spring blossoms that provide year-round interest in the landscape, as well as producing edible fruits. Serviceberry (Also known as Juneberry, saskatoon, shadbush, shadwood, or shadblow) consists of 30 or so species of this genus in the pome-fruit subfamily of the Rose family (they are closely related to apples), with all but two native to North America. This native plant is available in both tree and shrub form.
Emily chose Regent Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) for our Basic Starter Kit because this variety is affordable and easy to find online. It is also very easy to grow, and unlike other varieties, alnifonia does not propagate by runners, and thus does not spread.
Regent is a multi-stemmed, compact, deciduous, stoloniferous shrub cultivar that typically grows only 4-6 feet tall. It features showy, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 3/4-inch diameter) in compact clusters that appear in early spring (April) before the leaves. Flowers give way to small, round, edible berries that ripen to dark purplish-black in June and resemble blueberries in size, color, and taste. Berries may be eaten fresh off the plant or used in jams, jellies, and pies. Finely toothed, oval-rounded leaves are pale to dark green. Foliage turns variable shades of yellow in autumn.
Role in the Ecosystem
Serviceberry plants play an important role in our ecosystems, as they serve multiple functions. These functions include providing shade for other trees and a source of food for humans and animals, creating a microclimate, bringing nutrients and minerals from deeper layers of the soil to the surface for the benefit of other plants, providing mulched surface for other plants, and sequestering carbon.
All of this is just from one tree, so imagine all the other trees on the planet. Therefore, it is important that we tend to our trees and maintain them. So here we will examine a tree’s needs, such as climate, soil, and ideal growing conditions.
Care for Plants
The serviceberry has a medium growth rate, which means they grow between 13-24 inches per year. They are considered to be a small forest tree or perennial shrub, since they have several stems. The trees can be found throughout the United States. The serviceberry shrub, which gets 5-6 feet tall, can be found at the edge of forests, fields, and woodlands, and prefers partial sunny to partial shady sites. They are able to grow in moist, acidic, and rich soils, but are easily adaptable to dry soils.
Amelanchier has few pests, with the exception of Japanese beetles, which are fond of all forms of the rose family. See Emily’s Care Sheet for more information.
Common Name: alder-leaved serviceberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy, Edible