The Amelanchier

Amelanchier canadensis, A. stolonifera, A. arborea and A. laevis can be found in our area. 

Amelanchier is a small tree or shrub that can be found in a variety of habitats from swamps to dry woods. When you see a sprinkle of delicate white splashed in the woods and nothing else is flowering you have found an Amelanchier.  This plant is known to many by a variety of names such as; Serviceberry, Sarvisberry, Shadbush and Shadblow.  These names reflect the intimate connection people had with their environments.  The Sarvisberry is a tree found in Europe with similar fruit, after a while people corrupted sarvisberry into serviceberry. 

As for the name Shadbush and Shadblow, this refers to the running of the shad in the northeast.  The American Shad is an anadromous fish that would move up the Houstonic and Connecticut rivers and into the smaller rivers to spawn in May and June. At the same time, the Amelanchier start to flower.  Because it is the earliest shrub/ tree to flower and the only plant flowering at that same time and can be found along stream banks it was easily connected with the shad.

The Amelanchier is in the rose family, in our area it can be found as a single stem tree or a multi-stem shrub, on dry hills or in swamps and along streams.  It is a highly adaptable plant for many landscape environments.  Besides having lovely white flowers, it produces outstanding fruit.  The berries are red to purple and have about a 1/4″ diameter.  They have a incredible flavor in which a large number of birds delight. 

They make some of the best preserves I have ever had and are great for pies too!  But there is one problem, you have to beat the birds and children to them, it does not take long for either to clean out a bush! 

 Which ever way you know this plant, it is one you should have in your landscape.

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