Saskatoon Serviceberry – Amelanchier Alnifolia
The saskatoon serviceberry is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 1-6m tall. It can be found in a variety of soil and moisture conditions across western Canada. Its native habitat is moist banks and drier hillsides and though adaptable to different soil and moisture conditions, it shows some drought intolerance. The serviceberry grows in shady to sunny conditions and requires well draining soil. This perennial can be identified by its compact clusters of fragrant white flowers that are replaced by blue-green leaves that turn yellow-reddish in the winter. The leaves grow in an alternating pattern on smooth grey-brown bark.
The saskatoon serviceberry provides edible fruit that ripens in early summer with a sweet flavour that is enjoyed by most people. Its berries can also be used for jams, pies, and cakes. It was also used by First Nations Peoples in soups and stews as well as to treat stomach ailments. Arrows and pipe stems were made from shoots. Aside from human uses, the berries also provide food for mammals and birds.
Other Uses: N
Soil: Can grow in acidic, neutral, and alkaline soil and sandy, loamy, and clay soils
Sun: Partial to full sun
Usually found at: Thickets, woodland edges and banks of streams
Pollinators & wildlife: Pollinated by bees. Attracts birds and butterflies.
Ornamental: Large decorative shrub that attracts both people and wildlife with their sweet berries.
Leaves: Alternating deciduous leaves ranging from elliptic to ovate in shape.
Flowers: Fragrant, white flowers, 2-3 cm in diameter with 5 separate petals that appear on 3-20 short racemes.
Berries: Up to 15 mm in diameter and blue-purple in colour that ripen in early summer.
First Nations uses: Arrows and pipes were made from shoots and the berries were used in soups and stews. The berries were used as a mild laxative and to treat stomach ailments.
Note: Native plant sales are pick-up only at Suwa’lkh School (1432 Brunette Ave in Coquitlam). Email suwa’firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.