Serviceberry or not?

I came across two multi stemmed trees today in Asheville, NC and thought they looked like serviceberries. Are these serviceberries or something else?:

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Absolutely a serviceberry. The grey bark and fruit shape is a dead giveaway

There are varieties which are edible when still reddish, but most rail turn purple when ripe. Enjoy

Scott

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another yes vote, those are serviceberry

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Pretty! We have been enjoying them in parking lots here and there- Costco and our local library :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:. I want to learn what cultivars are tastiest and plant a few. If there’s an easy way to strain out the seeds, that’d be cool! But I do sometimes like the anise-y flavor of the seeds.

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ClothAnnie:

The nursery I work at grows a lot of serviceberries. Often in good years I can go out in the fields and walk down the rows eating my fill. My experiences with serviceberry is that Running serviceberry (A. stolonifera) is my favorite! Very sweet and good sized fruit. Running is a clumping variety so it will colonize an area and grows about 4’ tall.

My next favorite for the fruit is ‘Autumn Brilliance’ which will get 18’-20’ tall. We also grow Allegheny serviceberry, shadblow serviceberry, Cumulus serviceberry ect. While ornamental, I find their fruit too dry or not sweet enough for my taste.

I should mention Regent serviceberry which is a small bush (4’-5’ tall). Very huge fruits and really juicy but no sweetness at all. Other alnifolia types supposedly have excellent fruit (Smokey ect) but I have no experience with them.

I guess I am spoiled as no need for me to grow them when we have hundreds of them each year at work that I can pick the fruit for free. We had a local lady at one time come a couple years in a row and pick the fruit. I heard she made some excellent jam/jelly from the fruit. Not sure if she strained out all the numerous small seeds or not (I hope so).

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One more vote for yes! I found a group of service berry trees last year in June, looking similar (some grow more bush like, some taller like trees, as others have noted), and covered in red berries like these. I tried them and they were perfectly lovely! They were lining the outside of a building in downtown Washington DC, but going unnoticed by anyone but the birds. A lot of people find Serviceberries sweet, even too sweet or cloying for some, so they were still plenty sweet for me when red.

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I second that. Definitely interested in a few varieties that are worth growing.

I didn’t think service berry grew that far south. Everyone says they are service berry and I believe them but the ones I grow can’t handle the heat zone 6 is the hottest zone they can handle. I really would have thought huckleberries would be more common there instead of juneberries. I admit they look just like my June berries so I learned something new again today.

I’m going to hunt for the running serviceberries. They sound great! Had some at our library today. Not many- most were gone/ green but I also took a pic. Saw a few of these. Galls? Wonder what gets to the fruits.

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I’m hunting for Amelanchier stolonifera per its report of tastiness but I can’t find it for sale anywhere. Meanwhile, I learned that there’s a thing called cedar serviceberry rust and I wondered if that’s what had afflicted our library’s plants- if this odd fruit is really affected by the fungus(? Is it a fungus?).

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Here in Alberta we call those Saskatoons, and maybe they are different than what the OP posted, but they look the same, and the fruit turns that red color as it starts to ripen, becoming deep purple when fully ripe. They grow wild all over the place, and the wild ones run the full range from tasteless to delicious, from tart to sweet. Nursery and commercial cultivars have been selected based on taste and berry size, I have 4 cultivars in our backyard, Smoky is far and away my favorite – tasty and sweet, with no tartness, but personal taste obviously plays a role there. Mine have just finished flowering, they ripen unevenly, with July being saskatoon berry month, the first ones coming early in July, and the stragglers ripening before month’s end. They basically taste like a wild blueberry, but the berries are bigger and not as juicy as blueberries. Many people rave about saskatoon pie, personally I’d rather just eat the berries fresh, but if I were to eat a slice of pie, I’d much prefer blueberry pie. I like tasting wild saskatoons while out hiking, but I tend to just do a bit of taste-tasting, because I know they are an important source of food for wildlife so I don’t want to go out and collect gallons in the wild when I can easily just grow them in my backyard.

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Don, I’ve heard of what I call “serviceberry” also being called Saskatoons (although I may have mistaken that as a name for honey berries!) as well as juneberries and a bunch of other names!:slight_smile: I have heard of the cultivar of “Smoky.” I’m hunting for that or “Running” or Autumn Brilliance. I am curious about the susceptibility to cedar serviceberry rust, though, as I posted a pic up thread of a funky looking fruit and wonder if that’s the affliction.

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I picked probably close to two dozen very ripe berries at our local Costco. As I was picking, kind of in a hurry, I noticed some orange dust getting on my hand. As I looked more closely, I noticed that a lot of the clusters of berries had at least one or more where the berry had been transformed by this… I don’t know what? My very UN- educated guess would call it cedar serviceberrry rust. What do you think? I do think it is a more advanced version of the affliction I noticed on the service berries at our library. I think I posted that picture a few days ago.

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Cedar Apple rust…

Shows up in 2 ways, weather dependent it seems…

The way you have there and a less common (wet weather encouraged) slimy finger looking thing…

I’ve seen your type in northern Michigan (traverse City) at a nursery whose manager wasn’t terribly interested…

I have apples and serviceberries (3 kinds) and I get no fungal fruits (granted I shouldn’t make such absolute claims with this wet spring) which I attribute to not having cedars nearby (or arborvitae).

Scott

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Maybe that is part of why they did horribly for me. I had one in full sun for 5 years until transplanting it last spring. It produced a few bland berries and also had some spikey fungal growths (only 1-2 on the plant, but when there are only 10 berries, it is a high rate…).

Last spring, I moved it to a rental property where it gets about half sun- not a prime fruit growing spot, but I figured maybe it could do something. If not, at least it is out of my way (jujubes replaced it…). I didn’t plant it all that well- the root crown sticks out a bit, as I was digging a lot of holes in a short time that day. But, it is doing a lot better than it ever did in my yard. Here’s a pic:

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I have a sort of special connection to serviceberries–as a spoiled, slack@ss teenager I did a hike in Colorado of like 6 or 8 miles with my uncle. 2/3 of the way in all my water was gone and I was miserable. And we stumbled into a thicket that was filled with birds, all deeply pissed we walked in.

The bunches of plants were serviceberries, and although they were blander and seedier than blueberries, they also grew large shrubs to medium trees, without blueberry pickiness.

I have always had a soft spot for serviceberries, even though I consider most of them somewhat insipid. They are still tasty, and sweet, and ridiculously available.

I have however noticed differences in quality. There is a bunch at the UW-Madison campus near the cancer center I swiped a half-dozen suckers from which were especially good…but the suckers are faring poorly. May have to get more yet. Of the “unusual fruits” including currants, gooseberries, etc. I put serviceberries near the top of my personal list–they won’t replace blackberries or raspberries, but for a shrub that looks about like a lilac it still makes a ton of “decent” fruit (still waiting to make wine with a few pounds of them but they are good fresh) for either myself or the birds…

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I believe service berries get there names from that they flower just about the time the ground and snow have thawed out enough to burry people who died over the winter. Or just in time for the first Services of the year. The second name Juneberry is more obvious, as they ripen reliably in June in most areas. Saskatoons is just derived from the native American name.

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Your serviceberry looks awesome Bob. Here is a picture of our 3-year old tree which sits in full sun:

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Another old name for service eris is shadblow, as they would bloom at around the same time as shad were running in the spring.

Scott

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HI @Spartan! Can you provide a recommendation on purchasing Running Serviceberry? I’m in CT on the RI border.