Downy Serviceberry (Serviceberry)

Family: 
Rosaceae (roses)
Description: 

A shrub or small tree with a narrow, rounded crown.

Leaves alternate, simple, oval, 2–5 inches long; finely toothed with a pointy tip, medium green; in autumn, turning gold and orange, often with reds and greens, too.

Bark light gray and smooth when young; dark gray with shallow grooves and long ridges with age.

Flowers March–May, often before the leaves emerge; silky-hairy; slightly fragrant; petals 5, white; clusters drooping or erect.

Fruits June–July; round, reddish-purple berries, 1/3 to 1/2 inch in diameter, tasteless or sweet, borne on long stalks; seeds small and numerous.

Similar plants: Low serviceberry (Amelanchier humilis) also occurs in Missouri; it grows in clumps and its leaves have coarse teeth and blunt tips. At least 4 other Amelanchier species have been introduced for landscaping purposes. 'Autumn Brilliance' is a popular hybrid between downy serviceberry and Amelanchier grandiflora; it has a multistemmed, shrubby growth habit.

Size: 
Height: to 40 feet; spread to 35 feet. Usually much smaller.
Habitat and conservation: 
Open, rocky woods and bluffs, usually on well-drained slopes. Often associated with northern red oak, black oak, white oak and flowering dogwood. It is one of the first of Missouri's woody plants to bloom in spring, with showy white flowers that appear before the leaves. Serviceberry is increasingly used in landscaping for its showy white flowers and red fruit (which attracts birds), and a number of cultivars are available.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Most of the state except for the northwest corner; cultivated statewide.
Status: 
Common through much of the eastern United States, this attractive plant has received many common names: downy serviceberry, downy juneberry (or June berry), downy shadbush, sarviss berry, sarviss tree, shadblow, common serviceberry and sugar plum. Many Missourians know it simply as "serviceberry" or "service berry."
Human connections: 
An increasingly popular small tree or shrub for landscaping due to its pretty white springtime flowers, attractive summer foliage and gold, orange, green and/or red autumn color. The berries can be sweet and great for baking and snacking; at a minimum, they can attract many birds to your yard!
Ecosystem connections: 
At least 35 species of birds eat the berries, and at least a dozen types of mammals eat the berries or browse the twigs and foliage. Serviceberries bloom for only a few weeks, but as early bloomers, they provide nectar to bees and other insects just emerging from winter hibernation.