Amelanchier species

The Serviceberries

Amelanchier spp., Juneberry

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods



  • Amelanchier, from
  • canadensis, "of Canada"
  • Serviceberry, from
  • Other common names include: Saskatoon, Serviceberry, Makwimin (Ojibwe), Häggmispel (Swe), Felsenbirne (Ger)
    • A. canadensis, Shadblow Serviceberry, Downy Serviceberry, Shadbush, Servicetree, Amélanchier du Canada (Qué)


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons
      • Subclass Rosidae, the Roses
        • Order Rosales, the Roses
          • Family Rosaceae, the Roses, with roses, plums, and cherries
            • Genus Amelanchier, the Serviceberries
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 25108
    • Amelanchier alnifolia, Saskatoon Serviceberry, TSN: 25109
    • Amelanchier arborea, Downy Serviceberry, TSN: 25110
    • Amelanchier bartramiana, Oblongfruit Serviceberry, TSN: 25111
    • Amelanchier canadensis, Canadian Serviceberry, TSN: 25112
    • Amelanchier humilis, Low Serviceberry, TSN: 182045
    • Amelanchier laevis, Allegheny Serviceberry, TSN: 182046
    • Amelanchier sanguinea, Roundleaf Serviceberry, TSN: 25119
  • Amelanchier species integrade and hybridize freely, making identification difficult;12 different species identified in the BWCAW.


  • A genus of tall, deciduous, rhizomatous, shrubs
  • Flowers tiny and white, in clusters.
  • A. canadensis: lower, more shrubby plant; multi-stemmed and

  • reaching heights of 5'-15' w/ suckering habit
  • A. alnifolia: deciduous shrub; its growth form ranges from single stems less than 1' tall to treelike clumps over 20' tall. It has vertical taproots, lateral roots, or a combination of both; root growth is related to substrate. Bluish berries are produced on mature plants on productive sites.


  • Northern North America, south in mountains.
  • Saskatoon Serviceberry's range extends from northern Alaska south to California and east to Ontario, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico


  • Forested slopes, open rocky woods, cliff edges; also bogs and wet sites.
  • Saskatoon Serviceberry occurs over a wide range of situations, from dry rocky slopes in full sunlight to partial shade of conifers and in moist, deep, and fertile soils. It is a common shrub in coulees, bluffs, and open woods. Moisture is a limiting factor; plants not usually present in areas with less than 14" annual precipitation.
  • Long-lived and can remain suppressed in closed conifer stands for long periods of time. Tree canopy removal stimulates sprouting


  • Aerial portions of Saskatoon Serviceberry are killed by fire; survival occurs through sprouting. Nearly all reestablishment of serviceberry after fire occurs from regrowth of rhizomes.
  • Saskatoon serviceberry can survive even severe fire if soil is moist Saskatoon serviceberry sprouts vigorously and increases following fire.


  • Trees:
  • Shrubs:
  • Herbs:
  • Ground Covers:
  • Mammals: Small mammals, bears, and many species of birds eat the berries
  • Birds:


  • A basic ingredient in pemican, the Native American dried food staple.
  • Fruits of Saskatoon Serviceberry were an important food of the Blackfeet, who used them in soups, stews, and pemmican. Dried berries were also used as a trade item. The wood was prized for making arrows.


  • Edible; jelly made from fruits
  • The berries are used today in pies and preserves


  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes
  • Pollination by long-tongued bees (6), short-tongued bees (27), other Hymenoptera (1), Diptera (17)
  • Fruit fleshy pomes, purple-maroon, 1/4"-1/3" in diameter
  • Seed dispersal by animal consumers
  • Saskatoon Serviceberry generally regenerates through vegetative means. New shoots sprout from rhizomes, usually within 5' of the existing plant.
  • Seed dispersal primarily by gallinacious and passerine birds, and bears. The undigestible seeds are left in the droppings and may germinate, but conditions must be nearly ideal for successful establishment. Apparently few plants result from seed.


  • By seed, following cold stratification.
  • Division most successful method


  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-7
  • Size & Shape: 10' tall with 6' spread; upright form. Erect stems form multi-stemmed clumps.
  • Growth 12"-18" annually
  • Flowers small and white; in clusters.
  • Fruit red turning to blue; edible and often eaten by birds.
  • Fall Color usually yellow with red or orange.
  • Bark smooth and grey
  • Useful in wet soils. Transplants fairly easily, B & B;
  • Diseases include several rusts, fire blight, minor insect pests
  • Soil coarse to medium texture, well to moderately well drained. Soil moisture moist to average; pH: 6.1 - 6.5
  • Sensitive to artificial light, road salt, drought, soil compaction, and ice breakage.


Boreal border
Last updated on 1 August 1999