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Shadblow Amelanchier arborea

Other plants called Shadblow:

Previously known as:

  • A. canadensis
Phonetic Spelling
am-uh-LAN-kee-er ar-bor-EE-ah
Description

Downy serviceberry, is a deciduous tree in the Rosaceae (rose) family, native to eastern North America, and found throughout North Carolina.  It typically grows on wooded slopes and cliffs, open woods, wooded bluffs, rocky woodlands, limestone glades, riverbanks, and edges of swamps. It is not frost tender.

Downy serviceberry grows in a wide range of cultural conditions: in full sun to partial shade and acidic to neutral, sandy, loam, or clay soil that is moist and well drained, but occasionally wet or dry. It has a multistemmed habit as a small tree or, if the root suckers are not removed, it will attain a more shrubby like form. Typically growing 15 to 25 feet tall with a narrow, rounded form, it can reach heights of 40 feet in the wild. The trunk can range from 6 to 18 inches. 

In the spring, fragrant five-petaled, white flowers mature, followed by finely toothed leaves with a hairy underside. The bark is smooth when young. As the tree ages, long, vertical splits and furrows develop. The small tree produces a red to purple berry that matures in the late summer to fall. The berries have some resemblance to blueberries. It attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, as well as songbirds and small mammals.

Because of its cultural versatility, downy serviceberry also fills a wide variety of garden uses in any location, from specimen to border, barrier, mass planting, or understory tree. It is sometimes planted as an ornamental for the showy clusters of flowers and is commonly sold in the nursery trade as Amelanchier canadensis, although canadensis is, in fact, a shrubby East Coast species.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Insects include leaf miner, pear sawfly, spider mites, aphids, peach borer, and scale insects. Diseases affecting the plant are cedar apple rust, glomerella leaf spot-fruit rot, fire blight, powdery mildew, witches' broom, and leaf blight. This plant is slow to root after transplant. Its suckering habit may also lead to the plant being somewhat weedy.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Amelanchier.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Amelanchier x grandflora 'Autumn Sunset'
    Orange fall color
  • 'Cole'
  • 'Robin Hill'
    Tolerates partial paving, good street tree.
  • var. arborea Amelanchier arborea var. arborea
    var. laevis Amelanchier arborea var. laevis
Amelanchier x grandflora 'Autumn Sunset', 'Cole', 'Robin Hill', var. arborea, var. laevis
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#weedy#native shrub#fall interest#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#food source wildlife#cpp#fire low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#early spring flowers#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fruits#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#mammals#pollen plant#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#Coastal FACU#nectar plant early spring#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#red-spotted purple butterfly#viceroy butterflies
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Amelanchier x grandflora 'Autumn Sunset'
    Orange fall color
  • 'Cole'
  • 'Robin Hill'
    Tolerates partial paving, good street tree.
  • var. arborea Amelanchier arborea var. arborea
    var. laevis Amelanchier arborea var. laevis
Amelanchier x grandflora 'Autumn Sunset', 'Cole', 'Robin Hill', var. arborea, var. laevis
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#weedy#native shrub#fall interest#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#food source wildlife#cpp#fire low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#alkaline soils tolerant#pollinator plant#early spring flowers#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains FAC#fruits#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#mammals#pollen plant#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#Coastal FACU#nectar plant early spring#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#red-spotted purple butterfly#viceroy butterflies
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Amelanchier
    Species:
    arborea
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Heavy, hard, close-grained wood used for tool handles.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    New Brunswick to Florida and west to Minnesota and Texas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant supports Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) and Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) larvae. Viceroy rarely uses this host plant in North Carolina but it has two to three broods from May-September. Pollinators and insects nectar at the blooms and gather pollen in early spring. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, small and large mammals.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire in the landscape. This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer.
    Edibility:
    Edible fruit used to make jams, jellies, and pies. Can be eaten raw or cooked. Rich in iron and copper.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small, fleshy green apple-like fruits will turn red then purple-black as they mature. Fruits display from May to August and this plant is self fruitful so it does not need a pollinator to create fruit. They have a similar taste as highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), but slightly sweeter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Drooping racemes of six to fourteen star-shaped, white to pale pink flowers bloom from March to May. Terminal buds are long and pointed, blossoming into 3 to 7 inch drooping clusters of 1 inch flowers before, or with, the leaves. Flower blooms from March to April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Pointed, 2 to 4 inch, slender-stalked leaves are purplish-brown until mature when they become light green. Young leaves are covered with hairs on the underside, an almost pussy willow effect. As the tree matures, the leaves are less hairy. At maturity, the green leaves may be covered with hairs.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Its bark is smooth when young and on branches, but more fissured as it ages and on the trunk. As the tree ages, long, vertical splits and furrows develop.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Pond
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Mass Planting
    Shade Tree
    Small groups
    Small Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Erosion
    Fire
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy