All the Serviceberry’s luscious red fruit are gone.
The small sweet and juicy berries that look like red-blueberries are all eaten. I had one, just one, berry. The birds seem to have eaten the rest.
This is the first spring that the Serviceberry has fruited in any decent quantity.
I planted this single Serviceberry (also called Shadbush or Juneberry) tree three springs ago. I planted it with the goal of attracting fruit-eating birds that rarely come to my seed-filled feeders.
I want to attract Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds and Robins which eat insects, worms and fruit.
I had noticed a Gray Catbird in my garden over the past few weeks. The bird didn’t take seeds or sip water, but it did peck at my strawberries that are ripening now. I bet it ate the Serviceberries, too.
Serviceberry/Shadbush/Juneberry is one of the first woody plants to flower. When it blooms, the small white flowers seem to cover the tree in snowflakes. This native fruit tree occurs naturally throughout southeastern PA.
The small tree blooms just as the Shad are swimming upstream in the Delaware and Susquehanna RIvers here in southeastern Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, the Shad run up the Delaware and the fish are considered a delicacy by some. It also signals the time to plant corn. A berry named after a fish doesn’t inspire me to eat. So when it blooms in early spring, I call it Shadbush, when it fruits in June, Serviceberry.
Apparently, it was named Serviceberry because it bloomed in early spring when the weather allowed Christian ministers conduct funeral services to bury believers who had died during the harsh winter.
Juneberry because it ripens in June.
I wish I had a handful of berries to top my delicious homemade creamy vegan ice cream. Maybe next year.
Amelanchier canadensis – Rose Family
Common name: Serviceberry or Shadberry or Juneberry
Deciduous tree that turns red or yellow in autumn
Blooms in April – May, Fruit in June – early July
Moist soil, in moist woods and swamps, hybridises easily and makes it hard to identify
Insects: Insect pollinated
Host plant: to Tiger Swallowtail, Viceroy, Red-spotted Purple, White Admiral and Striped Hairstreak butterflies
Attracts: Prime fruit for many animals from birds to black bears
Medicinal uses – The Cherokee use bark infusion as a bath and given to children with worms
Food uses – mashed fruit made into cakes or dried for future use
Phenology – reliable indicator of when to plant corn
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