9 Recommended Species of Serviceberry Trees and Shrubs

illustration of types of serviceberry trees

The Spruce, 2018

Serviceberry trees and shrubs (Amelanchier spp.) are members of the Rosaceae family—the massive group that includes roses and many flowering, fruiting trees and shrubs. Serviceberries are deciduous and found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They offer four-season interest with their beautiful blossoms, pome fruits, autumn leaf colors, and bark color in winter.

The common name of Juneberry is sometimes used because the fruit will start ripening during that month. Other common names, shadbush, shadblow, and shadwood, allude to to the fish that runs and spawn at the same time these plants are blooming. Other names you may see used are sugarplum, Indian pear, May cherry, saskatoon, sarvisberry, wild pear, wild plum, and chuckley pear. The purple pome fruits of the serviceberry are edible and can be eaten fresh or used to make jams or jellies. These shrubs are a great choice for inclusion in the landscape if you want to attract birds to your garden, since they love the fruits.

Warning

Serviceberry shrubs have a habit of suckering. This can be useful if you want the shrub to expand into a screening thicket, but it can also overcome a garden the shrub is left undisciplined. You may want to regularly (once or twice a year) clip off any suckering shoots at ground level.

  • 01 of 09

    Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)

    Allegheny serviceberry

    Dan Mullen / Flickr / CC By 2.0 

    The Allegheny serviceberry may form into multiple trunks and is one of the tallest Amelanchier species. If you prefer it to be a small tree, prune it to create a central leader that will serve as the main trunk. This species grows best in locations with moist soils with proper drainage. Like many serviceberries, this species offers color interest throughout several seasons. In spring, it bears clusters of white flowers. During summer, the fruit begins to form, ultimately becoming bluish-black. In autumn, the leaves will change to be red or yellow. This species is sometimes known as smooth serviceberry.

    If you want a tree with a fastigiate shape (upright with several leaders) or a column-like habit, look for the 'Snowcloud' variety. Other varieties available include 'Cumulus', 'Prince Charles', and 'R.J. Hilton'.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 15 feet to 40 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 02 of 09

    Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)

    Apple Serviceberry

     

    riskms / Getty Images

    The apple serviceberry is a result of a cross between the downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) and the Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis). You can prune it to assume a small tree form with one trunk, or leave it as a multi-stemmed shrub. The white blossoms are especially large on this hybrid. You can plant this as part of a drought-tolerant garden. Fall foliage colors are red and yellow.

    The variety pictured is 'Cole's Select'. 'Autumn Brilliance' offers red-orange foliage in the fall and resistance to diseases. You may also see 'Autumn Sunset', 'Ballerina', 'Princess Diana', 'Prince Charles', 'Prince William', 'Robin Hill', and 'Rubescens'.

    • Native Area: NA; this is hybrid plant derived from two native North American species
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 15 feet to 25 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 03 of 09

    Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)

    Canadian Serviceberry

     

    seven75 / Getty Images 

    The Canadian serviceberry, sometimes known as shadblow serviceberry, is hardier overall than other species. Choose a location with moist soils that offer good drainage for best results; it will tolerate dry soil but may struggle if drought conditions are present. The white flowers appear around the middle of April and bring butterflies and bees into your garden. This tree puts on a fall show with leaves that transform to orange-red, gold, or yellow.

    Available cultivars include 'Glennform' (also known as 'Rainbow Pillar'), 'Prince William', 'Sprizam' (also known as 'Spring Glory') and 'Trazam' (also known as 'Tradition').

    • Native Area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: 6 feet to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 04 of 09

    Common Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

    Common serviceberry

     

    Alexander Nesterov / Getty Images

    If you are looking for a serviceberry with large fruit, choose this species, also known as downy serviceberry. The leaves can be fuzzy when they first appear. It forms several trunks, so pruning to a central leader will be needed if you prefer the look of a tree. Common serviceberry tolerates pollution, making it suitable for urban landscapes. In the fall, they are yellow, red, or orange.

    There are three different varieties that naturally occur. Amelanchier arborea var. arborea is the one generally known as the common serviceberry. The Alabama serviceberry is known as A. arborea var. alabamensis. Finally, the variety generally known as downy serviceberry is A. arborea var. austromontana.

    • Native Area: Eastern North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Height: 10 feet to 35 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Juneberry (Amelanchier lamarckii, or Amelanchier × lamarckii)

    Juneberry

     

    Roel_Meijer / Getty Images

    It is unknown whether this is its own species or the result of a cross between other Amelanchier species. In native environments, this is a large understory shrub or small tree that is similar to Allegheny serviceberry, but with silky hairs on the young stems and leaves. Drooping clusters of white flowers appear in early spring before the leaves unfurl. The namesake dark purple/ black berries appear in June (they can be used in jams). The leaves are finely toothed, up to 3 inches long, and turn orange-red in fall.

    This serviceberry was a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. The species name of lamarckii was given for Jean Baptiste Antoine Monet de Lamarck, who was from France and lived in the 1700s. It has shown the potential to become invasive in some areas of Europe.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 15 to 30 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 06 of 09

    Roundleaf Serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea)

    Roundleaf Serviceberry

    Dan Mullen / Flickr / CC By 2.0 

    The species name of sanguinea means "blood red" and is used because this shrub has red twigs (another common name is red twig serviceberry). This characteristic can be used to distinguish it from other species of serviceberry. The white flowers are fragrant and appear early in spring.

    There are three different varieties that you may come across. They are Amelanchier sanguinea var. grandiflora, A. sanguinea var. gaspensis and A. sanguinea var. sanguinea. 

    • Native Area: Southern Canada, northern portions of U.S. Midwest and East.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 4
    • Height: Up to 10 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 07 of 09

    Saskatoon Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

    Saskatoon Serviceberry

    Brewbooks / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Some botanists classify this plant as a variation of roundleaf (red twig) serviceberry, giving it the official name of Amelanchier sanguinea var. alnifolia. Whether regarded as its own species or a variation, the name of alnifolia lets you know that the leaves are similar to those found on alder (Alnus) species. In fact, the plant often is known by the common name alder-leaved serviceberry. This species tolerates cold temperatures well. In fact, there is even a variety available ('Altaglow') that is able to grow in chilly zone 1.

    This species has at least four different varieties, including var. alnifolia, var. humptulipensis, var. pumila, and var. semiintegrifolia.

    • Native Area: Western North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: mostly 4 to 9; some cultivars suitable as far north as zone 1
    • Height: 4 to 40 feet, depending on the variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 08 of 09

    Snowy Mespilus (Amelanchier ovalis)

    Snowy mespilus

     

    Gwengoat / Getty Images 

    This small shrub, also known as dwarf garden serviceberry, is covered with clusters of white flowers in the spring. The fruit is a rich purplish-blue hue when mature. Ovalis means "oval" and refers to the shape of the leaves. For a dwarf variety, select 'Pumila'. Another variety that may be available is named 'Edelweiss'.

    • Native Area: Central and southern Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9; may succeed in zone 4 with protection
    • Height: up to 16 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Utah Serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis)

    Utah Serviceberry

     

    Andrei Stanescu / Getty Images 

    Sometimes known as western serviceberry, this is one of the more drought-tolerant serviceberries. Spring brings white flowers. In summer, the fruit is formed and matures to be purple-black. In the fall the green leaves will shift to shades of yellow. It serves as an important source of food for wildlife.

    • Native Area: Western North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9; may succeed in zone 5 with protection
    • Height: 2 feet to 16 feet; occasionally over 25 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Growing Tip

Amelanchier species can serve as a host for cedar-quince rust, cedar-serviceberry rust, and cedar-hawthorn rust, which are caused by Gymnosporangium species. They may also be attacked by fire blight, powdery mildew, Entomosporium leaf spot (Entomosporium spp.) and cankers. Witches'-brooms can also form.


Potential pests include aphids, borers, deer, Japanese beetles, leafminers, mice, pear slug sawfly, plum curculio, rabbits, scales, spider mites. Birds may be considered a pest if you prefer to keep the fruits for yourself.