Landowner Fact Sheets

downy serviceberry Amelanchier arborea play

This common denizen of eastern and midwestern forests is known for bright white flowers proclaiming the arrival of spring. Tasty reddish-purple berries soon follow.

range map Click to see more images. fall color

Downy serviceberry is not usually a species that is deliberately regenerated. If wildlife and ornamental purposes are of interest, regeneration can be achieved by both shady or sunny conditions.

Downy serviceberry is a widespread tree that grows in woods, on river banks, and on rocky slopes.


A shrub or small tree up to 40 feet (occasionally much larger) with a narrow crown.

Timber Value
Serviceberry is occasionally used for pulpwood.

Wildlife Value
Over 40 species of birds and nearly as many mammal species relish the fruit of serviceberry.
Attracts birds, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, foxes, black bears, elk

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Serviceberry was named for its ability to bloom as soon as the ground thawed. At this time, services were held by circuit riders for those who passed away or wed during the winter. An alternative name for serviceberry, shadbush, derives from folklore correlating the flowering of the species with the running of shad in rivers. Serviceberries make wonderful pies and jams.

Latin Meaning
Amelanchier: French Provencal name for Amelanchier ovalis - amelanquier / arborea: tree-like

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.