Downy serviceberry

Downy serviceberry leaves and flowers emerging in spring.
Downy serviceberry is a four-season plant offering white flowers in spring, small red berries in summer, excellent fall color and gray bark in winter. The fruit is usually eaten very quickly by birds. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."

Botanical name:

Amelanchier arborea

All Common Names:

downy serviceberry, juneberry, serviceberry

Family (English):

Rose

Family (Botanic):

Rosaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • Wide median,
  • Under utility lines

Landscape Uses:

  • Massing,
  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Specimen,
  • Utility

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet)

Mature Height:

15-25 feet

Mature Width:

Variable

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Prefers

Alkaline Soils:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Intolerant of pollution

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Edible fruit,
  • Showy flowers,
  • Attractive bark

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Mid winter,
  • Late winter,
  • Early spring,
  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Narrow

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

Wildlife:

  • Game birds,
  • Game mammals,
  • Small mammals,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Plants benefit from a mulch layer to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures.  Tolerates a wide range of conditions.

Disease, pests, and problems

Rust and leaf spots are occasional problems

Disease, pests, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 8

This species is common throughout the Midwest.  It is found in a variety of habitats.

Bark color and texture 

Silvery gray, smooth bark develops fissures as it ages.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate, 2 to 3 inch long, oval to elliptical shaped leaves.
Green leaves turn to redm yellow and orange in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Numerous pink-tinged buds open to 5-petaled, white pendulous flowers in the spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The 1/3-inch edible fruit starts out green, changing to red, then blue-black in June.

Related hybrids

The following are cultivars of Amelanchier x grandiflora, which is a hybrid between downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) and Alleghany serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis).

Autumn Brilliance apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’):  20 to 25 feet high and wide;  red fall color.

Cole's Select apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Cole's Select’): 20 feet high and 15 feet wide; upright, spreading habit; orange-red fall color; thick, glossy summer foliage.

Forest Prince apple serviceberry  (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Forest Prince’):  20 feet high and 15 feet wide;  oval habit and red-orange fall color. 

Princess Diana apple serviceberry  (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’):   20 to 25 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide; upright habit, excellent red fall color.

Robin Hill apple serviceberry   (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’):  20 to 25 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide ; upright-oval habit, red to yellow fall color.

 

 

Location of Amelanchier arborea (Downy serviceberry) at the Arboretum