What is a Serviceberry and How Many Types are There?

In a nutshell, there are just nine species of trees and shrubs of Serviceberry, and in this article, we shall go over different types. Members of the plant Rosaceae family, and are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and they are all known for the variety of colors of their leaves during, especially during the Autumn period their fruits, and their flower blossoms, and for the color of their barks during winter. In this article, we will learn what a Serviceberry is and how many types there are.

The Name

The actual name “Serviceberry” is actually in relation to church services for different possible reasons which were connected to blooming seasons of various plants. In the blooming season when the seasonal weather was better, preachers were able to visit their churches again.

The Rosaceae family

You can always tell a member of this family due to its perfect flowers that bloom and they have five petals surrounding their many stamens. A few species of this family have had white blossoms, but a few species’ flowers are yellow, or red in color. Serviceberry’s purple pome fruits are edible. They can be eaten fresh, or they can be used to make jams or preserves or even jellies. In shrub form, Serviceberry plants can be a great choice to have in a garden landscape, and it will certainly attract birds as they love eating the plant’s fruit.

Potential Pest issues for Serviceberry plants

Serviceberries like all plants are vulnerable to pests. Among these are aphids, deer, Japanese beetles, borers, mice, leafminers, pear slug sawfly, rabbits, scales, spider mites, plum curculio. If you wish to keep the Serviceberry fruit to yourself, then birds will be considered a problem. Another problem with this kind of plant is it also forms suckers, and it can be a useful trait if you want to create masses in your garden, such as found in native landscapes where nature takes over and rules supreme. However, it is a good idea for gardeners to keep an eye on the plants in their garden to make sure any suckers are kept under control, so they don’t overtake other plants.

Varieties of Serviceberry

  1. Allegheny Serviceberry – Native in North America, but is also known as Smooth shadbush, and grows to 15 feet to 40 foot tall, preferring exposure from full sun to part shade, this variety can form into multiple trunks and it is one of the tallest known species of this genus. Allegheny grows best in soils which are moist with proper drainage. In spring, clusters of white flowers appear. During summertime, bearing fruit which will grow and ultimately becomes a bluish black in color before becoming a red or yellow color in autumn.
  2. Apple Serviceberry – Reaching a height of twenty feet to twenty-five feet in height, and preferring exposure of full sun to part shade like its Allegheny cousin and is a crossbreed between the downy variety and Allegheny variety. It can be pruned to have one truck and left in tree form or it can be left as a multi-stemmed shrub. The flowers created by this hybrid are quite large, and they can be planted in a drought tolerant garden. During Fall the flowers are either yellow or red.
  3. Canadian Serviceberry – Also known as Sugarplum, and growing to a height of six foot or thirty feet tall, this variety grows in places where it prefers light exposure can be partially shaded or full exposure. A hardier breed of genus, this plant still needs moist soil to grow in, though it can grow in dry soil, it will struggle in drought. White flowers bloom around April, attracting bees and butterflies to your garden
  4. Common Serviceberry – Also known as by the name of the Downy Serviceberry, and native to Eastern North America and is best exposed in conditions of full sun or partly shady light. This variety of perfect if you are looking for a particular breed which produces large fruit. The Common breed forms several trunks, requiring a central leader if you prefer a tree. This breed is more tolerant of pollution, so it can be grown in an urban environment. When they first appear, leaves can be fuzzy while during fall, they can be either yellow, red, or orange in color.
  5. Juneberry – No-one knows if this particular breed is its own species or if it is just another hybrid combining characteristics of other Serviceberries. Growing to a height of ten feet to thirty feet in height, while preferring conditions of partly shaded to full sun exposure, during Fall leaves will change their color to red and orange.
  6. Round-leaved Serviceberry – Also known as round-leaved shadbush or red-twigged shadbush, this breed can grow to a height of up to ten foot in height and preferring conditions of partly shaded to full sun exposure like most other breeds, this plant is easily identified because its twigs are red in color. The flowers are white and are fragrant.
  7. Saskatoon Serviceberry – Also known as alder-leaf shadbush and native to Western North America, this genus’ Saskatoon variety can reach up to forty feet in height, though a few individual examples are only capable of growing to fifteen feet. Like all breeds, Saskatoon prefers exposure of full to partly shaded, though this particular species is more rugged and it can stand up to colder temperatures well.
  8. Snowy Mespilus – Known as Dwarf garden Serviceberry, or as the Garden Serviceberry, and a native ofcentral and southern areas of Europe and can grow to sixteen foot in height, this particular shrub is usually covered with clusters of white flowers during spring, with fruit a rich purple-blue hue when it is mature.
  9. Utah Serviceberry – Native to Western North America, known by its common name of Sarvis tree, this Utah breed grows to a variable height – in wild conditions, it can grow freely to a height of twenty-five foot tall, while domestically grown variety grows to a maximum height of sixteen foot. Probably one of nature’s most rugged breeds, this type can grow in drought conditions. During spring this varieties’ flowers are white, and like many others breeds bear fruit, which in itself will grow during the summer period, maturing to a purple-black in color. In fall, leaves will shift from a green to shades of yellow. The plant acts as a source of food for native wildlife.

In this article, you have learnt about nature’s basic varieties of Serviceberry, and they are a lovely way of including color to your garden throughout the seasons of the year under different conditions.


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