This small tree or tall shrub with dense, fine-textured branches produces beautiful clusters of 5-petaled white flowers March through April, followed by edible berries in June that mature from red to deep purplish black. Attractive blue-green summer foliage changes to beautiful shades of orange or red in fall. Serviceberry provides food for insects, birds, and small mammals.
Native Habitatss include the edges of forests and along fence rows. Beautiful along woodland edges, in rain gardens, as shrubs in borders and hedges, along streets, or as a small shade tree. To use as a tree, prune to a single leader and continue to prune canopy for a less shrubby shape.
Grows 15-25’ tall and wide.
Full sun produces best berry production and fall color. Grows well in dappled shade; tolerates full shade.
Prefers moist, acidic, well-drained loams and adapts to clay and sand. Does not tolerate drought.
Form is multi trunked with smooth, gray bark and vertical white stripes. Mature bark splits, and furrows become rough.
A host plant for 105 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including the io and luna moths, and two specialist moths: Stigmella chalybaea (pics of all 3 here in order) and Pseudotelphusa amalanchierella. Bees are attracted to the flowers, and fruits are eaten by cedar waxwings and numerous songbird species, ruffed grouse, and a wide range of mammals. Deer like to browse the buds and young twigs.
Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:
The berries are full of fiber, protein, flavonoids and antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and copper. The root bark can be used to make herbal tea to treat excessive menstrual bleeding, alleviate menstrual pain, and stop diarrhea. An infusion made from the inner bark can be used as a disinfectant wash.
The berries, which have been likened to blueberries, may be eaten raw, blended into smoothies, or cooked into jams, syrups, cobblers, muffins, and other baked goods. The berries may also be dried like raisins or brewed into wine. Native Americans mashed and dried the fruits and incorporated them into cakes or mixed the dried berries with meat and fat to form pemmican for long winter travels.
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