No consensus exists regarding the enumeration of North American Amelanchier taxa. In eastern North America, most floras and regional treatments have roughly the corresponding number (although sometimes not the same species) as G. N. Jones (1946); though often substantial differences of opinion exist regarding circumscriptions of individual taxa. Disagreement is deeper for western North America, for which Jones had seven species and P. Landry (1975) had but one.
Identification of individual taxa can be difficult because of the variability within each species. In addition, some species have not diverged much from one another genetically.
In general, we are following the treatment in the Flora of North America[
Amelanchier intermedia is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing from 2 - 7 metres tall. The plant often suckers to form a dense clump of up to 50 stems, sometimes growing in colonies[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Eastern N. America - Ontario to Newfoundland, south to Minnesota, Michigan and South Carolina
Swamps, bogs, thickets, shores; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
Plants are hardy to about -25°c[
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade[
] but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an acid or neutral soil.
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[
A group of plants growing at KewBotanic Gardens, England were about 5 years old in 1995. They were flowering well in early April, were about 2 metres tall and had lots of side branches[
]. Their native range was given as western N. America, which conflicts with other reports[
]. Older plants are being grown at Hilliers Arboretum in Hampshire, England - in early April 1999 they were 4 metres tall, suckering quite freely in a tight clump and flowering very freely[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
]. Grafting onto seedlings of Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing[
This species hybridizes with Amelanchier bartramiana, Amelanchier humilis, and Amelanchier spicata[
Two individuals of this species, bothof them tetraploids, have been shown to be apomictic[
Edible fruit - raw or cooked[
]. We have yet to see the fruit on this species, but if it is like the closely related Amelanchier lamarckii, then it will be sweet and succulent with a flavour of apples[
]. The fruit can also be dried for later use[
]. The dark purple fruits can be 7 - 12mm in diameter[
]. The fruit is rich in iron and copper[
The following is a general description of the wood obtained from members of this genus:-
The heartwood is brown or reddish brown, it is usually absent from small specimens; the thick band of sapwood is slightly brownish. The texture is fine and uniform; the grain straight to irregular; lustre is medium; odour and taste are absent or not distinctive. The wood is hard, heavy, compact, tough, and strong, where formed the dark heartwood is durable. The appearance of the wood is usually marred by numerous brown lines (pith flecks). The wood is easily worked, taking a good polish. When of sufficient sice the wood is used locally for purposes such as tool handles and other small items - it is of no commercial interest, however, because of its scarcity and the small size of the plants[
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[
]. 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[
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.