The Q&A Archives: Serviceberry Trees

Question: I see two types of these trees on your site: the Allegheny and the Autumn Brilliance Apple Serviceberries. There is no photo for either and no info AT ALL on the Allegheny type. Can you help me? Does the Apple actually drop apples?

Answer: In my experience birds, chipmunks and assorted other wildlife devour amelanchier fruits the moment they are ripe and well before they have a chance to drop from the tree, so I can't imagine it actually dropping fruit when it ripens in the summer.

In the case of Autumn Brilliance, a named variety of Amelanchier arborea, the fruits are a bit larger than usual and are thus considered more likely to be edible for people. (The fruits on the native species are quite small, the size of large blueberries.) Autumn Brilliance is really best known for its fall color and relatively fast growth. It is also typically taller, at 20 to 25 feet and more of a tree form.

Allegheny Serviceberry, or Amelanchier laevis, is quite similar to the above type and is one of the native serviceberries with the tiny fruits. This plant tends to be multistemmed and grows slowly.

The online Monrovia catalog is also listing Amelanchier canadensis, which it describes as a more shrubby form which can be limbed up at maturity to reveal the trunk. It is also a bit smaller, growing between 6 and 12 feet tall and nearly as wide. This one is recommended for damp sites and as a wildlife habitat plant.

You might want to visit a nursery and take a look at these plants in person to see if they are what you have in mind in terms of form and textural effect and so on. The Monrovia website offers a zip code search feature to help you locate nurseries that carry Monrovia (and other) products.

Alternatively, a web search using a search engine such as google and the Latin name of the plant as the search term should bring up some images.

I hope this helps you in your decision making process.

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