Serviceberries

Photo of the Tree

There are several species of serviceberries in North America. They occur from coast to coast in Canada and the United States, including Alaska. In general, serviceberries are shrubs. However, they may become small trees up to 33 feet high (10 metres).

Serviceberries produce clusters of showy white flowers, which are insect-pollinated and become reddish berries. The seed is dispersed by fruit-eating birds and small mammals.

The shrub grows best in the forest understory. That is, it is commonly found in the shade of taller trees. It can also be observed at forest edges and along fencerows. Serviceberries also grow on rocky and sandy soils.

Serviceberries are often planted as ornamentals, owing to their aesthetic appeal when in flower. Furthermore, because of their immunity to parasites, they require very little maintenance with pesticides.

Native people call serviceberries "Saskatoon berries", the same name as the city in the Canadian prairies.