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Cusick’s Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia cusickii)

A. cusickii. Fern.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cusick's Serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia cusickii

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the inner bark is used as a treatment for snow-blindness[172].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[161, 177]. Ripening in mid summer, the fruit is soft and juicy with a few small seeds in the centre, it has a very nice sweet flavour with a hint of apple in the taste[K]. The fruit can also be dried and used as raisins or made into pemmican[101, 183]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter, it is rich in iron and copper[226].

    The leaves are a tea substitute[161].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed[78, 80]. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months[78]. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade[1, 200] but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged[11]. Plants are fairly lime tolerant[200], they also grow well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to about -20¡c according to one report[184], whilst another suggests that this species is hardy to about -50¡c[11]. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. This species is particularly interesting because it is quite compact and produces an excellent quality quite large fruit[K]. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe[K]. This plant is considered to be a part of A. alnifolia by some botanists whilst others give it specific status as A. cusickii[11, 60, 200]. It has the largest flowers in the genus, they are up to 5cm across[11], and it is considered to be of value in breeding programmes because of its large fruits, long fruit clusters and large flowers[183]. A stoloniferous species, spreading by suckers to form a thicket[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing[1].
Western N. America

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.