Amelanchier alnifolia var. pumila
Common Name: dwarf serviceberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Western North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a somewhat wide range of soils, but prefers moist, well-drained loams.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Amelanchier alnifolia is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree which may grow to 18' tall. Features showy, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 3/4" diameter) in compact clusters which appear in early spring (April) before the leaves. Flowers give way to small, round, edible berries which ripen to dark purplish-black in June and resemble blueberries in size, color and taste. Berries may be eaten fresh off the plant or used in jams, jellies and pies. Finely-toothed, oval-rounded leaves are pale to dark green. Foliage turns variable shades of yellow in autumn. The species is commonly called Saskatoon serviceberry or western serviceberry, and some species cultivars have been grown commercially for fruit production.

Var. pumila is a naturally occurring dwarf alpine variety that is native to open shrubby and coniferous forest areas in mountainous areas of the West. Although var. pumila may over time grow to 12' tall in the wild, it typically reaches an open, dwarf-rounded, 3' by 3' shape in cultivation over 5 years. Pumila means dwarf in botanical Latin.

Genus name comes from a French provincial name for Amelanchier ovalis a European plant in this genus.

Specific epithet means leaves like the genus Alnus in reference to the similarity of the leaves of this species to common alder (Alnus glutinosa).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Rust, leaf spot, fire blight, powdery mildew and canker are occasional disease problems.

Garden Uses

Attractive dwarf shrub for shrub borders, open woodland gardens or rock gardens. Good plant for bird gardens (birds love the berries).