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SPECIES: Amelanchier utahensis
Zlatnik, Elena. 1999. Amelanchier utahensis.In: Fire Effects
Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/ameuta/all.html .
The fully documented scientific name of Utah serviceberry is Amelanchier utahensis Koehne (Rosaceae) [18,23,46]. Taxonomy in the Amelanchier genus has historically been disputed, with A. utahensis occasionally considered to be a variety or subspecies of Saskatoon serviceberry (A. alnifolia ) [4,31,46,47]. There are 2 subspecies of Utah serviceberry: A. utahensis ssp. covillei (Standley) Clokey [18,23,24] and A. utahensis ssp. utahensis Koehne .
Utah serviceberry hybridizes with Saskatoon serviceberry [4,33].
No special status
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
AZ CA CO ID MT NM NV OR UT WA WY
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodlands
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K030 California oakwoods
K031 Oak-juniper woodlands
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub
K055 Sagebrush steppe
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak
247 Jeffrey pine
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
209 Montane shrubland
411 Aspen woodland
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association
Utah serviceberry is associated with a variety of shrubs and trees
including sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), pinyon pines (Pinus spp.), ponderosa
pine (P. ponderosa), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), junipers
(Juniperus spp.), and Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii).
In the Ruby Mountains of Nevada, Utah serviceberry appears in the singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla)-Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) community type with big sagebrush (A. tridentata), low sagebrush (A. arbuscula ssp. arbuscula), black sagebrush (A. nova), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus), Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda), phlox (Phlox longifolia and P. hoodii), Beckwith milkvetch (Astragalus beckwithii), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.), desert Indian paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), low pussytoes (Antennaria dimorpha), bastard toadflax (Comandra pallida), Holboell rockcress (Arabis holboelii), thickstem wild cabbage (Caulanthus crassicaulis) plains prickly-pear (Opuntia polyacantha) tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), snowberry (Symphocarpos spp.), and greeen rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) .
In the Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis)-Utah juniper types in southeastern Utah, Utah serviceberry appears with Stansbury cliffrose (Purshia mexicana var. stansburiana), ephedra (Ephedra spp.), snakeweed (Gutierrezia spp.), big sagebrush, skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus spp.), single-leaf ash (Fraxinus anomala), round-leaved buffaloberry (Shepherdia rotundifolia), fringed sagebrush (Artemisia frigida), banana yucca (Yucca baccata), plains prickly-pear, yellow cryptantha (Cryptantha flava), hairy telegraphplant (Heterotheca villosa), pinnate princesplume (Stanleya pinnata), and cryptogams .
In southwestern Utah, Utah serviceberry is associated with Gambel oak and curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) .
In Arizona, Utah serviceberry occurs in ponderosa pine habitat types with Arizona fescue (Festuca arizonica), mountain muhly (Muhlenbergia montana), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), bottlebrush squirreltail, dropseed (Sporobolus spp.), asters (Aster spp.), milkvetch (Astragalus spp.), buckwheat, geraniums (Geranium spp.), deervetch (Lotus spp.), lupine (Lupinus spp.), senecio (Senecio spp.), Fendler ceanothus (Ceanothus fendleri), New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana), mountain-mahogany, and Gambel oak .
Hess and Wasser , have described a Quercus gambelii-Prunus virginiana (common chokecherry)/Amelanchier utahensis/Pachystima myrsinites (boxleaf myrtle) habitat type for the White River-Arapaho National Forest of Colorado.
Utah serviceberry is a very important species for
mule deer in the Great Basin .
Porcupines, desert bighorn sheep, and cattle also use Utah serviceberry .
The plant provides good browse for domestic sheep, domestic goats and mule
In the spring, Utah serviceberry provides fair forage for cattle and good to
excellent browse for domestic sheep and goats .
Utah serviceberry provides good forage late in winter and in early spring,
because it leafs out and blooms earlier than associated species.
Utah serviceberry fruit is preferred by many birds . It can be an important winter food for birds since berries stay on the shrub throughout the winter . In Nevada, sage grouse eat the fruit of Utah serviceberry .
Utah serviceberry is highly palatable to birds, small mammals, livestock and other animals throughout its range [16,24,33,34]. It is a preferred food of elk in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho .
In-vitro nutritional value of Utah serviceberry
leaves for mule deer in June and August in Arizona is as follows :
|Protein (%)||Acid-detergent fiber (%)||Calcium (%)||Phosphorus (%)||Digestible dry matter (%)|
Utah serviceberry has been used to revegetate big game winter range [3,13,33,37] and for surface stabilization . The plant probably cannot be established from rooted cuttings . It grows slowly from seed and therefore transplanting may be more successful than seeding for revegetation projects [29,33]. However, some authors claim successful transplantation is difficult .
Utah serviceberry fruits were used by Native
Americans and early European explorers in North America for food [24,34]
and medicine [8,21].
Utah serviceberry has been used as an ornamental plant, due to its pink or white flowers in the spring and purplish fruit in the fall .
Utah serviceberry is a host for cedar-apple fungus [24,46].
Incidence of the fungus in Utah is highest at low elevations, on steep
slopes, fine textured soils, and northern exposures .
Utah serviceberry is browsing tolerant .
Utah serviceberry is a many-branched, deciduous native shrub that grows from 2 to 15 feet (1-4 m) tall [20,21,30,33,41]. The plant can spread up to 15 feet (4.5 m) across .
The roots of Utah serviceberry are deep and spreading. Once the plant is established, Utah serviceberry tolerates drought well [20,41].
Utah serviceberry shares many ecological and botanical characteristics with Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), on which much more researched has been conducted. Please refer to the FEIS summary for that plant for further information.
Utah serviceberry reproduces from seeds or by sprouting from the root crown. In some years, Utah serviceberry is a prolific seed producer. The berries persist on tree unless removed by animals .
Utah serviceberry seeds require stratification to germinate. Only 1% of seed germinated after 30 days of constant 43° Fahrenheit (6 °C) temperature in 1 laboratory trial. By 75 days, 51% had germinated, and 95% germinated by 150 days . Following uncontrolled storage in Utah, more than 96% of Utah serviceberry seeds germinated after 7 years of storage. Germination percentage dropped significantly at 10 years, to 90%, and then decreased to 0% after 25 years [38,39]. Utah serviceberry grows slowly from seed . Annual growth was measured at Ephraim Canyon, Utah, to determine species appropriate for rapid site stabilization. Utah serviceberry seedlings grew at the following rate (in total inches of height reached each year):
Utah serviceberry grows on dry, open, rocky slopes, [8,18,21,24]. Precipitation in Utah serviceberry sites is low, with mean annual totals from 15 to 21 inches (380-535 mm) spread throughout the year [6,41].
Utah serviceberry grows best on coarse to medium well-drained soils, with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 . It requires excellent drainage and moderate summer precipitation . Utah serviceberry is not salt tolerant .
In Texas, Utah serviceberry grows on limestone slopes, in canyons, on rocks, and frequently under conifers, . Utah serviceberry grows well on southwest exposures . In Utah, the older, taller, and densest stands occur at high-elevation sites with moist northern slopes and deep soils .
Utah serviceberry occurs at the following elevations [8,18,21,24,34,41]:
AZ from 2,000 to 7,000 feet (606-2100 m) CA from 3,000 to 7,000 feet (900-2100 m) CO from 5,000 to 9,500 feet (1520-2890 m) MT from 3,500 to 4,100 feet (1065-1250 m) TX from 5,400 to 8,000 feet (1636-2424 m) UT from 3,000 to 9,000 feet (900-2750 m) WY from 7,000 to 8,800 feet (2130-2680 m)
Utah serviceberry is a seral species [7,44] and is not shade tolerant . In northwestern Colorado, small Utah snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilis) individuals are often found growing under large Utah serviceberry plants .
Utah serviceberry sprouts from the root crown
following fire [7,8,9,13,28].
Soil moisture is important to aid sprouting .
Utah serviceberry occurs Rocky Mountain and Utah juniper woodlands, for which mean fire intervals are estimated to be from 10 to 30 years. Recovery of shrubs following fire in these communities takes approximately 25 years .
Presettlement mean fire intervals in ponderosa pine/Gambel oak habitat types of western Colorado, in which Utah serviceberry appears, are estimated to be from 2.7 to 25 years .
In a Colorado pinyon-Utah juniper habitat type, Utah serviceberry had recovered to 10% cover and 20% frequency 30 years following a stand-replacing fire. In the same area, 90 years following fire, Utah serviceberry has only a 2% frequency in the community .
Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".
Aboveground parts of Utah serviceberry may be killed
or consumed under fire conditions with sufficient flame lengths. Utah
serviceberry may be slightly harmed by fire, depending on moisture
conditions , but is generally considered
to be fire tolerant .
The literature does not report high fire-caused
mortality for Utah serviceberry. If fire exclusion leads to increased shade,
Utah serviceberry is likely to decrease.
Heavy litter accumulations may increase the likelihood of fire-caused mortality in Utah serviceberry .
Horse Haven 1 was burned in late August, 1980. Horse Haven 2 burned in early October, 1980.
These fires took place in eastern Nevada, 16 miles northwest of Ely, Nevada.
The study site featured big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), low sagebrush (A. arbuscula ssp. arbuscula), mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpus oreophilis), green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), rubber rabbitbrush (C. nauseosus), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis), bluegrass (Poa spp.), needlegrasses (Stipa spp.), bluebunch wheatgrass (Psuedoroegneria spicata), basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus), and a few forbs. The Horse Haven stand was estimated to be 35 years old.
Utah serviceberry plants at Horse Haven 1 were in the fruiting stage.
The Horse Haven site is 40 acres with a southwest aspect. Slope is 12% and elevation is 7,500 feet. Precipitation is approximately 9.4 inches/year.
Fire conditions were as follows:
|Site||Burn date||Time||Air temp (?F)||Relative humidity (%)||Wind speed (mph)||Live fuel moisture (%)||Dead fuel moisture (%)||Fuel depth (inches)||Fuel loading (lb/ac)||Soil moisture (%)|
Flame lengths at Horse Haven 1 were 5 to 15 feet and rate of spread was
100 to 500 ft/min . Fireline intensity and heat per unit areas were 190 to
2020 BTU/ft/sec and 170 to 745 BTU/ft2, respectively.
At Horse Haven 2, fire behavior was erratic.
At Horse Haven 1, 6 plants were tagged before the burn, all between 3.3 and 6.6 feet tall. One growing season following the August fire, 5 of the 6 plants were resprouting. The plant that died had 2.5 times more litter accumulated at its base than the other plants, prior to the fire. By 1984, 4 of the remaining 5 plants were growing vigorously and had reached 54% of their original height. The 5th seemed stressed and dying. At Horse Haven 2, the October burn, 2 Utah serviceberry plants were tagged. One plant was not burned at all. The other did burn but resprouted, and by 1984 it was 13 inches in height.
Utah serviceberry plants sprouted following both August and October burns, but the sample size is too small to draw conclusions about seasonal fire effects.
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