[Serviceberries of the Columbia River Gorge 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 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 (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.


Varieties of Western Serviceberry Found in the Columbia River Gorge 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) -

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) -


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.


Leaves and flowers of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Close-up of the flowers of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida)

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

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

Western serviceberry as seen atop basalt cliffs above Lancaster Falls and west of Starvation Creek Wayside, Columbia River Gorge.........April 26, 2015. Note that the petals are mostly less than 10 mm long, there are 5 styles, and the leaves are strongly toothed along their upper half.

Close-up of the flower of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Close-up of the top of the ovary of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida)

Ventral leaf surface of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Close-up of the dorsal surface of a leaf of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida)

Close-ups of Saskatoon serviceberry as seen along the Klickitat Trail near Klickitat Springs, Klickitat State Wildlife Recreation Area, western Klickitat County, WA...........May 8, 2011 Note that both leaf surfaces are thinly pubescent at this location.

Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Lower leaf surface of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Flower of Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Leaf of 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. Click each photo to see enlarged views (3x).

Flower of Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Upper leaf surface of Alder-leaved Serviceberry, Amelanchier a feuilles d'aulne, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Berry, Saskatoon Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia (Synonym: Amelanchier florida) - Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia - Flower of 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. Click each photo to see enlarged views (3x).

Amelanchier alnifolia var. alnifolia

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.

Paul Slichter