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Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. ex M. Roem.
Saskatoon serviceberry, Western serviceberry, Juneberry
USDA Symbol: AMAL2
This is typically an erect shrub, 3-18 ft. tall. In rich soils, a single trunk may develop and attain 30 ft. in height. Compact clusters of fragrant, white flowers emerge just before small, light-green, oval leaves appear. The small, sweet, blue berries ripen by early summer. Fall color is orange to red and takes place for long periods.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Cordate
, Ovate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin: Entire
, Serrate Inflorescence: Raceme Size Notes:
Height 4-15 feet, spread 6-8 feet. Leaf:
Green in summer, yellow to reddish in the fall. Autumn Foliage:
Blue or purplish. to 1/4 inch across. Size Class:
3-6 ft. , 6-12 ft. , 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
, WY Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
S. Man. to AK,
s. to n.w. IA,
n. NE, NM, AZ
& CA Native Habitat:
Moist stream banks to drier hillsides; open woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Well-drained soils. Conditions Comments:
This species has been developed for commercial fruit
production. Its berries are 1/3-1/2 in. in diameter and blue-purple. Though it is adaptable to a variety of soil and moisture conditions, it shows some drought intolerance. It often suckers to form colonies. Under favorable conditions, individual bushes may be in bloom for as long as a month.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Use Wildlife:
Berries provide food for mammals and birds, and the dense growth provides shelter. The shrub
has good nutrient levels throughout the year. It is browsed mostly in spring when it provides good forage for cattle, goats, sheep, and wild ungulates, although in concentrated doses the twigs and leaves, which contain cyanide compounds can fatally poison these animals. Use Food:
of this and related species are eaten fresh, prepared in puddings, pies, and muffins, and dried like raisins and currants. Indigenous people used the fruit
in soups, stews, meat dishes, pemmican and dried cakes. Use Medicinal:
Boiled cambium can be used as a disinfectant. Root infusions were used to prevent miscarriages. Juice was used to cure stomach ailments, and it is a mild laxative. Eye and eardrops were made from mature berries. Use Other:
Arrows and pipe stems made from shoots. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Attracts orange tip and elfin butterflies.
This species can be rooted from early spring hardwood cuttings or softwood cutting taken in the summer. Layering or separation of suckers from parent plants is another means of increase. Sow untreated seeds in fall or cold-stratified seed in spring. Seed Collection:
Collect fruits as soon as they ripen (if you can beat the birds) and clean seeds immediately to prevent fermentation. Fertile seeds are dark brown with a leathery seed coat. Seed extraction is usually by macerating the fruit
and washing them over screens. Air dry and store in sealed, refrigerated containers for up to five years. Seed Treatment:
Cold-moist stratification for 90-120 days. Commercially Avail:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2013-06-21
Research By: TWC Staff