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Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

A. canadensis. Wieg. non (L.)Med. Mespilus arborea
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Downy Serviceberry
Amelanchier arborea

The trees have an extensive root system and can be planted on banks etc for erosion control[200].

Wood – close-grained, hard, strong, tough and elastic. It is one of the heaviest woods in N. America, weighing 49lb per cubic foot[227, 274]. Too small for commercial interest, it is sometimes used for making handles[227, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    A compound infusion of the plant has been used as an anthelmintic, in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a spring tonic[257].

    An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[257].

  • Edible Use

    Edible fruit – raw or cooked[101, 227]. The fruit has a few small seeds at the centre, some forms are dry and tasteless[11, 177, 227] whilst others are sweet and juicy[183, 227]. The fruit ripens unevenly over a period of 2 – 3 weeks and is very attractive to birds, this makes harvesting them in quantity rather difficult[229]. The fruit is borne in small clusters and is up to 10mm in diameter[200]. It is rich in iron and copper[226].

  • 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]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. 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. 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]. The plant becomes dwarfed when growing in sterile (poor and acid) ground[227]. Hybridises with A. bartramiana, A. canadensis, A. humilis and A. laevis. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing[1].
Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to Florida, west to Minnesota and Texas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*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.