The Amazing Serviceberry

| 5/31/2012 12:39:50 PM

Tags: edible landscape, organic, berries, tree, shrub, flowers, juice, regional, eat your yard, Nan K. Chase, urban farm, Nan Chase,

In my lineup of edible landscape plants, the serviceberry plays a starring role. Yet for too many gardeners this plant is unknown. Are you ready to try something new and delicious?

Serviceberry blooming 

A small tree or large shrub in form, and bearing many names, this American native plant is beautiful in early spring for its billows of lacy white blooms and beautiful again in autumn for blazing color on the pleasing rounded leaves. In the late spring – serviceberry is sometimes called Juneberry – the fruit makes for some magical eating, as thousands of delicious purple-red berries ripen. 

Spring blossom closeup 

serviceberry fall color 

On a day like today, in mid-May this exceptionally warm spring of 2012, I can pick a gallon of the berries in about an hour. And it’s important to pick the highly nutritious berries as soon as you find them, for birds love them too, and the berries don’t stay on the tree much more than one or two weeks a year. 

9/13/2017 1:15:56 AM

We had two Sarvis trees when i was growing up. Sadly those trees died a few years ago, and i have not seen one in Western Kentucky in many many years

9/13/2017 1:15:54 AM

We had 2 trees in our back yard growing up in western Kentucky. We would eat til our fingers turned purple from picking them. Sadly, those two trees died, and the only other trees i knew of are gone as well. I havent seen Sarvises locally in many many years

2/9/2014 8:25:57 PM

We love serviceberries! Our landscaper put a tree in several years ago and we had to literally fight the cardinals away from them come harvest time. The tree was a prolific bearer and and we would freeze them to enjoy all year long. We have now moved to a new home and the first thing we planted was a serviceberry tree.

cindie cohen
3/7/2013 3:36:44 PM

I am sure that the Serviceberry (Shadberry) which is a native plant is not the same as the Service Tree which is from the Urkraine and western europe. The leaves appear to be distinctively different. The Serviceberry is also available from St. Lawrence Nurseries in Potsdam NY

cindie cohen
3/7/2013 3:30:29 PM

I am sure that the Serviceberry (Shadberry) is not the same as the Service Tree as the Service berry is native and the Service Tree is from Russia. Is this correct?

feather jacobs
10/25/2012 3:38:33 AM

thank you for you infornmation. we too are from asheville (but unfortunately currently jobbed in sc) cant wait to come home! we used to take service berries & mush them some, pat into little rounds & let dry. when dry we would use these ground pretty fine, in pemmican. very good & very rich! Service berries with a little sugar & a splash of lemon cooked to a jam consistancy are great with pork & chicken!

lisa wagner
6/8/2012 3:45:34 AM

You're lucky to have those serviceberries next to your garden! My neighbor and I wait to nab them in our neighborhood, and the birds beat us to them this year. We need to plant some of our own. Great post! Lisa

dispassionate reason
6/5/2012 5:24:55 AM

Is this the fruit that is sometimes called 'bullets' in the Southern U.S.?

rebecca reed
6/1/2012 12:02:12 AM

Great job Nan telling folks about this oft forgotten tree. I must admit, I myself know this spring flowerer for its gorgeous blooms, but forget about its edible merit. Looking forward to your next post. Rebecca Bull Reed

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