The Q&A Archives: Can you help me identify a shrub?

Question: Hi! There is a row of shrubs or immature trees (about 7 ft. tall) bordering my office. They have alternate leaves with complete margins, numerous small (4-5 mm across) flowers, white or ivory in color, with five major petals. These flowers grow in dense clusters from stems long the termial third of the branch, along with the leaves. From the middle third of the branch, several fruits have developed. They are roughly an inch long, and black or darnk blue outside, with succeulent green pulp surrounding a very large seed. I've looked at many plant identification sites, including PLANTS Nat'l Database, but since these are used in landscaping, I thought perhaps it might be more productive to ask if this sounds familar to you! Thank you for your time!
Nancy M.

Answer: It's really difficult to identify a plant without seeing it! You didn't say whether the plant was evergreen or deciduous, which would narrow the search down. At this point I can only offer a few possibilities - Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherrylaurel) or Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) Flowers on the Serviceberry sound like the flowers you describe. You might try taking a sample of the flowers and fruits to your local Cooperative Extension office or a local nursery. They may be able to positively identify the plant for you.

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