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Amelanchier

Juneberry, Serviceberry
Rosaceae
Deciduous, Edible fruit, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

Graceful, airy plants grow about twice as high as wide. Bloom in early spring, just before or during leafout, bearing drooping clusters of white or pinkish flowers that are showy but short lived. Fruits follow in summer; they are similar to blueberries though with a somewhat musty flavor. Use them in pies and preserves—if you can get to them before the birds do (in Alaska, birds have thus far seemed uninterested in fruit). Purplish new spring foliage turns deep green in summer, fiery in fall.

Locate plants against a dark background to show off flowers, form, fall color. Best to choose a site where litter from fruit and birds won’t be a problem. Prune after bloom to remove crossing, crowded, diseased, or dead branches. The common name “serviceberry” is often pronounced “sarvisberry.”

Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’ First Editions® (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’ First Editions® (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Amelanchier alnifolia

Native to western Canada and mountainous parts of western U.S. To 15–20 ft. tall, spreading by rhizomes. Selections grown for larger, sweeter berries than the species include ‘Smoky’, ‘Martin’, ‘Northline’, ‘Thiessen’, and dwarf ‘Regent’ (only 4–6 ft. tall).

Amelanchier canadensis (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Amelanchier canadensis (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Amelanchier canadensis

Plants offered under this name may actually belong to other species. From eastern North America. Grows to 25 ft. tall, with short, erect clusters of white flowers.

Amelanchier laevis

Native to eastern North America. Grows to about 25 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide, with nodding or drooping clusters of flowers that are followed by sweet fruit. ‘Snow Cloud’ is vigorous and disease-resistant. ‘Spring Flurry’ forms an upright oval and turns orange in autumn. Hybrid ‘Cumulus’ has a narrower habit and yellow-orange to red fall color.

Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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‘Autumn Brilliance’

One of several hybrids between A. arborea (similar to A. canadensis but larger) and A. laevis. Many named selections are available and may be sold under any of the three names. 

Grows vigorously to 25 ft. tall, 30 ft. wide, with drooping clusters of white flowers. Blue-green foliage turns orange-red in autumn. Strong stems, profuse bloom, and brilliant fall color makes it a good choice for ornamental use.

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