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Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Common Name: Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Botanical Name: Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’


NARRATOR: Horticulturalist Cody George describes the Downy Serviceberry, a native plant that grows throughout the Crystal Bridges grounds, but especially along the Rock Ledge Trail.

CODY GEORGE: Here on our side at Crystal Bridges, we have a couple of different types of Serviceberry. The first one is a native to this region – it’s called the Downy Serviceberry, and its botanical name is Amelanchier arborea. This is found predominantly on our Rock Ledge Trail, because the growing conditions are just conducive to what this large shrub or small tree likes.

The growing conditions are on a hillside, so it’s quite well drained, and it also likes the full-sun growing condition. It is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, plant to bloom at Crystal Bridges. We’ve seen it as early as late February, but on a typical year, it’s going to bloom early to mid-March. Its blooms are quite attractive, they’re white – so when everything else in the forest is dormant, it’s nice to see these pops of color throughout our woods.

The Serviceberry grow anywhere between 20 to 30 feet tall. They can be single-trunk, they can be multi-trunk, but they have a nice smooth bark to them, which helps you to identify them when there’s no leaves on the plant. The berries of the Serviceberry are produced in June, and that’s pretty consistent each year.

These berries are so persistent in June, that a common name is Juneberry. These berries are very edible; they’re very similar in taste to a blueberry. The fruits not only are enjoyed by people, but many different species of birds. In fact, over 20 species of our native birds rely on this berry as a part of their summer diet. It is a great plant to grow in your yard, not only for you, but to also help support our local ecosystem.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Plant family: Rosaceae

Location: Art Trail, East Terrace Switchback, North Lawn Trail

Growing zone: 4-9

Height: 15-25 ft.

Spread: 15-25 ft.

Bloom time: March, April, May

Bloom description: White flowers appear in clusters on the tips of this small tree or large shrub before leaves emerge. The delicate flowers are a glorious sight following winter, as they are said to be a harbinger of spring.

Leaf type: Leaves are 1-3 in. long by 1/2-3/4 in. wide and are oblong and finely serrated. The color changes from dark green in the summer to brilliant red in the fall.

Garden uses: It is multi-stemmed with a rounded canopy. Upon reaching mature age, it can become single stemmed. It grows best in woodland edges, as well as along streams.

Wildlife benefits: Many species of songbirds and small game eat the edible fruit. Blooms are visited by native pollinators.