Amelanchier bartramiana (Mountain Serviceberry)

Plant Info
Also known as: Mountain Juneberry, Bartram's Shadbush, Oblongfruit Serviceberry, Northern Juneberry
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade; moist rocky or sandy soil; forest edges, conifer swamps, bogs, thickets, cliffs, rock outcrops, rocky shores
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:5 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: none NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] Clusters of 1 to 3 (commonly 2) white flowers from lateral buds on one-year-old branch tips, emerging with the leaves in spring. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across with 5 oblong-elliptic to broadly oval petals. In the center are 18 to 20 creamy-yellow tipped stamens surrounding a green ovary with a long, green, 5-parted style at the summit. The top of the ovary is densely covered in woolly hairs and tapers into the base of the styles.

[photo of sepals and flower stalks] The 5 sepals are narrowly triangular, nearly half as long as the petals, woolly hairy on the inner surface, spreading to ascending at flowering but soon curving downward. Flower stalks are green, hairless, ½ to 1¼ inch long.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, 1¼ to 3 inches long, 2/3 to 1¼ inches wide, oblong-elliptic to broadly oval, usually widest at the middle but sometimes near the tip (obovate), the tip blunt to pointed or sometimes rounded, the base usually wedge-shaped or sometimes rounded. Leaf surfaces are hairless; edges are finely toothed and usually bronze tinged when young. Leaf stalks are hairless or becoming so, up to 3/8 inch long, and have raised edges.

[photo of twig and trunk bark] Young twigs are greenish brown turning reddish brown into winter, hairless and smooth with scattered whitish lenticels (pores). Buds are reddish brown, lance-elliptic, pointed at the tip, with long silky hairs on scales and edges. Bud scales are imbricate (overlapping like fish scales); the innermost scale has both edges covered while both the edges of the outer scale are exposed.

[photo of a clump of stems] Mature bark is gray and smooth or slightly rough. Stems are single, or multiple from the base in a small clump, or occasionally forming loose colonies from the rooting of horizontal stems (a process known as layering). The largest stems are erect, rarely over 1¼ inch diameter at base, with ascending to widely spreading branches above.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of maturing fruit] Fruit is berry-like, up to ½ inch long, oval to somewhat pear-shaped, longer than wide, and turning purplish-black at maturity.


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 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.

Mountain Serviceberry is relatively uncommon in Minnesota with only a handful of specimens documented outside of the Arrowhead region. Eastward it barely ranges into the northern edge of the Great Lakes and New England, and north to Hudson Bay. Typically it's associated with moist soils along forest and swamp margins, springs and lake/stream margins though it has also been found on rock outcrops. It does not perform well in closed canopy forests or against more vigorous species in open areas.

It is also our smallest Serviceberry species, rarely over 5 feet tall, and further distinguished by having fewer than 4 flowers in a cluster, densely woolly hairy ovaries, fruit longer than wide, and hairless leaves usually tapered or wedge-shaped at the base, where other Serviceberries have more flowers per cluster, leaves are often hairy and typically rounded to heart-shaped at the base, ovaries may be hairless and fruit is typically round. Mountain Serviceberry is known to frequently hybridize with other Serviceberries, resulting in specimens with intermediate characteristics, such as more than three flowers in a cluster, over 6 feet in height, more sparsely hairy ovaries, leaf bases more rounded or heart-shaped, or hairy leaves.

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More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cook and Pine counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gary - Cook County
on: 2018-11-14 20:59:16

Found dozens of large fruiting plants of this species in Cook County this past summer. They were growing in a clear-cut tamarack/black spruce swamp in full sun. I noticed that shaded plants in the remaining swamp did not fruit as much or grow as large.

Posted by: Ron Dunek - Gunflint Trail
on: 2021-05-18 18:52:30

Have seen dozens of service berry bushes on most trails off of Gunflint trail.

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