Amelanchier interior (Inland Serviceberry)
|Also known as:||Inland Shadbush, Inland Juneberry, Pacific Serviceberry|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; average to dry soil; forest understory, woodland edges, shrubby fields and meadows, windbreaks, roadsides|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||20 to 30 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Upright racemes 2 to 3 inches tall with 6 to 12 white flowers at tips of branch twigs, emerging with the leaves in early spring. Flowers are about 1 inch across with 5 narrowly oblong-elliptic petals. In the center are 18 to 20 creamy-yellow tipped stamens surrounding green ovary with a long, green 5-parted style at the summit. The top of the ovary is densely covered in woolly hairs.
The 5 sepals are narrowly triangular, ¼ to about 1/3 as long as the petals, woolly hairy on the inner surface, becoming reflexed (pointing downward) soon after flowering. Flower stalks are hairless, ¼ to 1 inch long at flowering, those lower on the raceme elongating up to 1¾ inches in fruit.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, 1½ to 2½ inches long, 1 to 1½ inches wide, egg-shaped to elliptic, widest at or below the middle, rounded to somewhat heart-shaped at the base, pointed at the tip. Edges are finely toothed with 22 to 45 teeth per side on larger leaves. At flowering time, leaves are typically bronze-tinged, folded and about half their mature size, with the upper surface hairless to sparsely hairy and the lower sparsely to moderately hairy. Later, leaves become green and flat with both surfaces hairless. Leaf stalks are up to 1 inch long and hairy when young.
Young twigs are greenish brown and hairless, turning reddish brown with scattered whitish lenticels (pores) into winter. Buds are reddish brown, lance-elliptic, sharply pointed at the tip, and variously hairy mostly around bud scale edges.
Mature bark is gray, smooth except for shallow fissures. Stems are single or multiple from the base, erect, up to 5½ inches in diameter on larger stems, with a crown typically taller than wide. Plants sometimes form colonies from root suckers.
Serviceberries (other common names are Shadbush or Juneberry) are a large group of small trees or shrubs that dot our woodlands and meadows with sprays of white flowers, just as other trees begin to leaf out in early spring. Most of them inhabit the eastern forests of North America with Minnesota on the westernmost edge of the range, and different species are often growing in close association. They are a perplexing group to identify with few distinct characteristics for any given species. Hybridization between species is frequent with diverging and integrating forms common. Within a species, traits like hairiness and leaf shapes are variable and leaf forms often differ within a single individual, depending on what part of the branches they are found. Specific site conditions like sunlight, soil type and moisture levels can also have great influence. Because some characteristics like leaf hairs can change over the season, early and late observations may be necessary for correct identification.
Inland Serviceberry is common in Minnesota. The general growth and leaf form is similar to both Smooth Serviceberry (A. laevis) and Downy Serviceberry (A. arborea), but A. interior can be distinguished by the combination of a hairy ovary (unlike both others) and young leaves with hairy undersides (unlike A. laevis). It's been suggested in botanical circles that A. interior is possibly the result of hybrid swarms (parents and their children hybridizing with each other) between A. laevis and possibly A. sanguinea, which is also common in Minnesota, but a shorter shrub (not over 10 feet), and has more coarsely toothed and hairier leaves than A. interior.
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- Inland Serviceberry shrub
- Inland Serviceberry tree
- stems are clumped
- sparse hairs on leaf underside
- hairy ovary
- flowering branch, past peak
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Pine and Ramsey counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Carlton and Pine counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?