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 alnifolia Coville
Amelanchier crenata Greene
Amelanchier elliptica A.Nelson
Amelanchier goldmanii Wooton & Standl.
Amelanchier jonesiana C.K.Schneid.
Amelanchier mormonica C.K.Schneid.
Amelanchier oreophila A.Nelson
Amelanchier plurinervis Koehne
Amelanchier prunifolia Greene
Amelanchier purpusii Koehne
Amelanchier rubescens Greene
Amelanchier venulosa Greene
Common Name: Utah Serviceberry
Amelanchier utahensis is a deciduous shrub or small tree, growing from 0.5 - 5 metres tall. The plant often suckers freely, producing up to 100 much-branched stems and often forming colonies[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, and sometimes also as a medicine and source of wood.
South-western N. America - Washington to Montana, south to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Drier areas on rimrock valleys, gullies and hillsides from sagebrush desert to middle elevations in mountains[
]. Dry rocky slopes, canyons, stream banks, mountainsides, foothills, deserts; at elevations from 900 - 3,500 metres[
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Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade[
] but thrives in any soil that is not water-logged[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates dry 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[
This species is closely related to Amelanchier alnifolia[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Grafting onto seedlings of Amelanchier lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing[
Edible fruit, raw or cooked[
]. The fruit can also be dried and used as a raisin substitute[
]. The fruit is rich in iron and copper[
]. The purplish-black fruit is produced in small clusters and is up to 10mm in diameter[
An infusion of the inner bark is used to treat snow-blindness[
The plant has been used to ease childbirth during labour and delivery[
Wood - heavy, hard and strong. The hardness of the wood makes it suitable for use as the spindle of a fire drill[
]. Trees are seldom large enough to be of commercial interest[
]. The wood has been used to make the rims of baskets[
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.