[Serviceberries: The Genus Amelanchier East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry

Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Synonym: Amelanchier florida

Flower of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

This photo shows a close-up of the flower of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen at Emigrant Springs State Park along Interstate 84 to the east of Pendleton, OR...........June 25, 2008. It is best to use the flowers of serviceberries to identify the various varieties. Variety alnifolia has flowers with 5 styles, petals generally less than 12 mm long and the top of the ovary fairly strongly pubescent.

Characteristics:

Serviceberry is an attractive low-spreading shrub or erect, small tree from 1-7 meters high. The young branches and buds are reddish brown and smooth while the older twigs are gray. The leaves are alternate on short stalks off of the stems. They are bright green in color and oval to elliptic in shape, ranging from 2-4 cm long. The margins are entire on the lower half and toothed on the distal half.

The flowers are plentiful, fragrant, and grouped in showy white clusters or racemes of 3-20 flowers. Individual flowers are 2-3 cm across with 5 thin, often twisted white petals and about 20 stamens. The fruits are globose, fleshy with several seeds, and initially red, later ripening to dark purple.


Varieties of Western Serviceberry Found East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington:

Saskatoon Serviceberry: var. alnifolia -

Cusick's Serviceberry: var. cusickii -

Dwarf Serviceberry: var. pumila -

Pacific Serviceberry: var. semiintegrifolia -


Importance:

The berries are edible and tasty. They are a good source of iron and copper. Native Americans ate the berries raw or dried them into loaves for later use in soups and stews, or mixed with meat and fat for travel food (pemmican?). Native Americans also used the wood for arrows, spears, and crosspieces for canoes. The juice of the berries was used as a dye. The berries are used today in jams, jellies, and wines. The leaves and stems are browsed by deer, elk, sheep and goats. Grouse eat the berries during the summer and the buds during the winter. Serviceberry is also useful as an ornamental plant.


Habitat:

Serviceberry may be found in open woods, canyons, and hillsides from sea level to subalpine habitats. It is especially fond of rocky soils.


Range:

Serviceberry may be found from southern Alaska south to California and east to Alberta. It is found southward at the east part of its range through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.


Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Leaf of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Ventral leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Flower of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia -

These 4 photoa show close-up details of the flowers and leaves of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen at Emigrant Springs State Park along Interstate 84 to the east of Pendleton, OR.........June 25, 2008.

Flower of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Dorsal leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Flower of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

These 4 photos show close-ups of the leaves and flowers of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen along Forest Road #4650 about one mile east of Haystack Rock at the eastern side of Chief Joseph Canyon in the northern Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.........June 26, 2008.

Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Flower of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida)

The photo at left shows western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen along Forest Road #4650 about one mile east of Haystack Rock at the eastern side of Chief Joseph Canyon in the northern Wallowa-Whitman National Forest...........June 26, 2008. The photo at right shows western serviceberry as seen along the South Prong Trail #821, Black Canyon Wilderness......June 16, 2019.

Flower of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Dorsal leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Ventral leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Close-up sideview of the calyces of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Additional close-up photos of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail near Pine City, WA.........May 20, 2010.

Flower of Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Flowers of Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Examples of the flowers of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen at Wedge Mt, Wenatchee National Forest.........June 8, 2009. Note the small beetles (pollinators?) on the flowers at right.

Ripening fruits of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Ripening fruits of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Leaves of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Dorsal leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Ventral leaf surface of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Leaves and ripening fruits of Dwarf Serviceberry, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Additional images of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen along lower Arizona Creek (about three-quarters of a mile downstream of the creek crossing) in the Pueblo Mountains of southeastern Oregon............June 1, 2012. Note the glabrous upper leaf surfaces (at a time when the fruits are nearly ripe), white hairy upper ovary surface, and that the young twigs and lower leaf surfaces can still have a fairly dense covering of hairs in some of the images, although most are glabrous.

Flowers of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida)

Western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen along the Fremont National Recreation Trail #160 on the northwest slopes of Hager Mountain, Fremont National Forest........May 19, 2016.


Dorsal leaf surface of Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Ventral leaf surface of Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

Examples of the dorsal leaf surface (left) and ventral leaf surface (right) of western serviceberry (var. alnifolia) as seen at Wedge Mt, Wenatchee National Forest.........June 8, 2009.

Paul Slichter