Tree Spotlight: Downy Serviceberry

This month’s tree spotlight is the downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea). The downy serviceberry is native to eastern United States and Canada. It grows well in full sunlight along stream banks, open woods, and woodland edges. It grows 15-35 feet in height with a 5-15 foot crown spread. It has a medium tolerance to salt and grows well in more neutral pH soils. The serviceberry can also be planted under telephone lines. They have showy white flower which bloom in early spring before leaf out. Downy serviceberry produces dark purplish-black berries in June which birds eat. The berries are similar in taste and size to blueberries and people use them to make jams, jellies, and pies.

The Big Tree Program is a national initiative that tracks and records the biggest trees of each species across the country. The Vermont big tree program is based on the national program; its scoring system comprises 3 measurements: height, crown width, and circumference at breast height. The current champion downy serviceberry is in West Rupert, Vermont. It has been submitted to American Forests as a national champion tree.The last time it was measured in 2003, its height was 72 feet, it had an average crown spread of 36 feet, and its circumference at breast height was 3 feet 10 inches, with a diameter of 1.25 feet.


Common names: Downy serviceberry, shadbush, Juneberry

Height:  15-40 Feet

Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Leaf: alternately arranged on branches, oval shape, 1 ½ to 3 inches long, with a finely serrated edge, dark green upper with pale under side

Flowers: Showy white flowers, occurring in elongated, drooping bunches

Fruit: Red to purple round berry-like pome, ¼ to 3/8 inch in diameter in hanging clusters which ripen early to mid-summer

Twig: Slender, flexible, red-brown to gray in color, buds are long, pointed, and up to ½ inch long

Bark: Bark is smooth when young, ashy-gray with darker stripes, later becoming rough with long vertical splits 





Virginia Tech

Missouri Botanical Garden

Photography Sources 

Downy Serviceberry flowers; Elise Schadler

1581133- John Ruter, University of Georgia,

0008429- Paul Wray, Iowa State University,

5495447- T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,


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