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.
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 (See photo at right.).
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.
Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) -
Cusick's Serviceberry, Cusick's Shadbush: Amelanchier alnifolia var. cusickii (Synonyms: Amelanchier basalticola, Amelanchier cusickii, Amelanchier florida, Amelanchier florida var. cusickii) -
Dwarf Serviceberry, Dwarf Shadbush: Amelanchier alnifolia var. pumila (Synonyms: Amelanchier pumila, Amelanchier basalticola, Amelanchier cuneata, Amelanchier glabra, Amelanchier polycarpa) -
Many-flowered Shadbush, Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. semiintegrifolia (Synonyms: Amelanchier alnifolia ssp. florida, Amelanchier alnifolia var. florida, Amelanchier canadensis var. semiintegrifolia, Amelanchier ephemerotricha, Amelanchier ephemerotricha var. silvicola, Amelanchier florida, Amelanchier florida var. florida, Amelanchier florida va. parvifolia, Amelanchier florida var. tomentosa, Amelanchier gormani, Amelanchier ovalis var. semiintegrifolia, Amelanchier oxyodon, Amelanchier parvifolia, Amelanchier vestita) -
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.
Serviceberry may be found in open woods, canyons, and hillsides from sea level to subalpine habitats. It is especially fond of rocky soils.
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.
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- - -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. Click each photo to see enlarged views (3x).
- - -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. Click each photo to see enlarged views (3x).
This photo 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.