All summer we featured invasive plants every Wednesday. Now it’s time to say “thank you” to our native plants. Each week we’ll showcase a plant that’s native to the continental United States. This week’s plant is the serviceberry.
If you’re looking for a small native woody tree for your garden that adds structure to the landscape and looks good throughout the year, try one of the Amelanchier species.
Amelanchier goes by several common names depending on your location. These include shadblow, shadbush, juneberry, and saskatoon. Amelanchier readily hybridizes with other species of its genus native to the same region, sometimes making the exact species of a plant difficult to ascertain.
Amelanchier native plant of the week 12-3-2020
Several different species of Amelanchier occur in Michigan and over most of the United States. Most of them are native to North America. According to the the University of Michigan Herbarium, several species occur in Michigan, including A. spicata, A. arborea, and A. interior.
A typical form of the serviceberry is a small, multi-trunked, airy shrub to tree reaching about 15-20 feet tall. Small, white, short-lived flowers appear in early spring. These are followed by round fruits that ripen to purple. Planting serviceberry is a great way to attract birds, which love the fruits—so much so that you’ll have to act quickly to harvest some for human consumption.

In fall the leaves turn brilliant shades of orange, purple, and red. A variety of bark patterns provide winter interest. In short, a great native plant for the garden.
U Wisconsin Master Gardener program; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; University of Michigan Herbarium.
Photo credits:
Amelanchier fall leaves-Steven Severinghaus
Amelanchier flowers-Carol VanHook
Amelanchier fruits-Deb Nystrom
Amelanchier in bloom-Deb Nystrom
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