Chuckley Pear, Sarvisberry, Saskatoon, Serviceberry, Shadblow, Shadbush, Shadwood, Sugarplum, Wild Pear, Wild Plum
Rosaceae – Rose family
Deciduous shrub to small tree; some are small trees, some are multi stemmed, clump-forming shrubs, and yet others form extensive low shrubby patches (clones).
From 2 - 20 ft tall..
The buds are slender with a pointed tip, and usually more than two scales visible. The leaves are ovate or elliptical, 1.5 - 3 in long and 1 - 1.5 in wide, with pointed tips and finely serrated margins. A characteristic useful for identification is that the young leaves emerge downy on the underside. The fall color is variable, from orange-yellow to pinkish or reddish.
The bark is gray or less often brown, and in tree species smooth or fissuring when older. Some have a single trunk, while others are multi stemmed.
It has perfect flowers that are 1/2 - 3/4 inches in diameter, with 5 petals, emerging in early spring. The petals are white. Flowers are produced on pendulous racemes 1 - 2 inches long with 4-10 flowers on each raceme.
The fruit is one of my favorites. It is a reddish-purple pome, resembling a small apple in shape. They ripen in summer and are quite sweet, they are therefore very popular with birds.
Amelanchier is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is most diverse taxonomically in North America, especially in the northeastern United States and adjacent southeastern Canada, and at least one species is native to every U.S. state except Hawaii and to every Canadian province and territory.
Grows in a variety of habitats; swampy lowlands, dry woods, sandy bluffs, rocky ridges, forest edges, and open woodlands and fields. I have also found this tree growing in urban settings.
Wild Food Uses:
In my opinion, this is one of the best trail nibbles available. Finding these berries is typically the high point of any trek. I have heard it also makes wonderful pies and jams. I cannot attest to this however, because I have never had enough self control for the fruit to make it back to camp or the house.
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