One of the top performing shrubs in the Eastern United States, Amelanchier canadensis hits all the right notes. Commonly known as Service Berry or Shadblow, this understory shrub is an ecological powerhouse, and is an absolute prize in the garden.
Early white flowers in April and May stand out against the drab brown post winter landscape and provide an important early food source for many native pollinators, purple-red edible berries display against the green foliage in the summer, and the green gives way to beautiful red fall color.
The Service Berry supports over 117 species of butterflies and moths, including the ethereal Luna Moth and the Small-eyed Sphinx moth. Planting Service Berry in your butterfly garden can bring species such as the Banded Purple, Red-Spotted Admiral, and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, to name a few. The berries will delight the songbirds in your yard, along with the veritable caterpillar buffet to feed their young.
According to ethnobotanists, the more common names a plant has, the more you understand it has cultural importance. This is evident with Amelanchier canadensis, also known as: Shadbush, Juneberry, bilberry, Canadian serviceberry, chuckle-berry, currant-tree, shad-blow serviceberry, shad-blow, shadbush serviceberry, sugarplum, thicket serviceberry, Eastern serviceberry, and more.
You really can’t go wrong with this shrub!
Use: Edible fruit. The berries are good raw, tasting a little like blueberries although sometimes a little on the dry side. They are also great used as a replacement for any other berries in baked goods.
ECO-TYPE: Some local eco-type, some grown from seed likely collected in New Hampshire. Started by New Hampshire State Forest Nursery.
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Photos courtesy of Dan Wilder
Amelanchier canadensis (Serviceberry/Shadblow)
SIZE: 1 gallon pot type: shrub sun needs: full sun, part sun/part shade water needs: average, moist height: 6-20' plant spacing: 5' distance bloom time: April, May bloom color: white
edible parts: fruit which ripens in late June salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur. deer resistant (please note that does not mean deer proof)