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SPECIES:  Amelanchier arborea


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Snyder, S. A. 1992. Amelanchier arborea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revision: On 8 June 2018, infrataxa were added to the Taxonomy section of this review, and images were added. The common name of Amelanchier arborea was changed in FEIS from: downy serviceberry to: common serviceberry. ABBREVIATION: AMEARB SYNONYMS: None NRCS PLANT CODE [22]: AMAR3 COMMON NAMES: common serviceberry downy serviceberry Juneberry shadbush shadblow sugarplum TAXONOMY: The scientific name for common serviceberry is Amelanchier arborea (Michx.) Fern.( Rosaceae) [4]. There are 3 varieites [22]: Amelanchier arborea var. alabamensis, Alabama serviceberry Amelanchier arborea var. arborea, common serviceberry Amelanchier arborea var. austromontana, downy serviceberry Common serviceberry hybridizes with the following species [4]: low serviceberry (Amelanchier humilis Wieg.) Canada servicberry (Amelanchier canadensis (L.) Medic.) oblongfruit serviceberry (Amelanchier bartramiana (Tausch) Roemer) Hybridization is common and usually produces fertile offspring. Authors differ in their treatment of the hybrids [20]. LIFE FORM: Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Common serviceberry occurs from the southern tip of Newfoundland south to the northern tip of the Florida Panhandle and west to southern Ontario and Quebec, eastern Kansas, the eastern edge of Nebraska, and southern Mississippi and Alabama.  North of Virginia, it is found along the coast, but from Virginia south it occurs inland [14].
Distribution of common serviceberry. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, June 8] [22].
   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch

     AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA  KS
     KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NE
     NH  NJ  NY  NC  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  TN
     VT  VA  WV  WI  NB  NF  NS  ON  PE  PQ


   K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K099  Maple - basswood forest
   K100  Oak - hickory
   K101  Elm - ash forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K103  Mixed mesophytic forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K109  Transition between K104 and K106
   K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine
   K112  Southern mixed forest

     1  Jack pine
    16  Aspen
    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
    26  Sugar maple - basswood
    27  Sugar maple
    28  Black cherry - maple
    30  Red spruce - yellow birch
    31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
    34  Red spruce - Fraser fir
    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
    42  Bur oak
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    55  Northern red oak
    57  Yellow-poplar
    59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
    60  Beech - sugar maple
    61  River birch - sycamore
    62  Silver maple - American elm
    64  Sassafras - persimmon
    65  pin oak - sweet gum
    75  Shortleaf pine
    76  Shortleaf pine - oak
    97  Atlantic white-cedar
   108  Red maple
   109  Hawthorn
   110  Black oak




SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE: In areas where common serviceberry grows big enough, it is used for pulpwood [21]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: At least 40 bird species and several dozen mammal species eat the fruit of the Amelanchier genus.  Mammals that use common serviceberry include squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, foxes, black bears, and elk [12,17]. PALATABILITY: NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE: NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE: NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES: NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Common serviceberry is the preferred food of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) during its larval stages [6].  Common serviceberry has been known to increase in number and density after defoliation from gypsy moths [8].


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Common serviceberry is a tall, deciduous shrub or small tree, growing up to 30 feet (9 m) or more [20].  Its trunk is about 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter [4].  The maximum recorded height and diameter for downy serviceberry is 70 feet (21 m) high and 2 feet (0.6 m) d.b.h. [14].  Its branches are purplish when young but turn grey at maturity.  Leaves are alternate and simple with serrate margins.  They are almost twice as long as broad.  Flowers are white, and the berrylike pomme fruit is dark red to purple [20].  There are 4 to 10 seeds per fruit [1].
Common serviceberry bark (left) and flowers (right). Photos courtesy of Paul Wray, Iowa State University,, and John Ruter, University of Georgia,, respectively.

Common serviceberry regenerates mainly by seed, but it also sprouts from
the root crown [14].  Seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals; bird
ingestion of seeds is an important scarification process [17].  Seeds
should be collected soon after ripening before animals eat them.  Seeds
can be washed from the fruits by mashing them with water.  There is an
average of 80,000 cleaned seeds per pound (176,000 kg).  Seeds should be
dry stored at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 deg C) in sealed containers.
Seeds can be sown in either fall or spring after 2 to 6 months of cold
stratification, but they will not usually germinate until after the
second spring [1].

Common serviceberry grows on a variety of sites from swampy lowlands to
dry woods and sandy bluffs.  It also grows on rocky ridges, forest
edges, and open woodlands and fields [20,23].  In the mixed hardwoods of
Appalachia, common serviceberry may compete better with other species in
stands on low quality sites [21]. 

Common serviceberry grows in red spruce (Picea rubens)-Fraser fir (Abies
fraseri) forests of the mountainous Southeast.  Here it grows in
association with yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), mountain ash
(Sorbus americana), elderberry (Sambucus pubens), and hobblebush
(Viburnum alnifolium) at elevations between 4,950 and 6,600 feet
(1,500-2,000 m).  Soils in these types are moderately drained
Inceptisols with a thick organic horizon and a low pH [2].

In the Midwest common serviceberry grows with boxelder (Acer negundo),
sugar maple (A. saccharum), white oak (Quercus alba), black ash
(Fraxinus nigra), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), shagbark hickory
(Carya ovata), and American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana).  Soils here
are well-drained silty clay loam and poorly drained silt loams [13].
Some understory associates include lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium
angustifolium), penstemon (Penstemon canescens), raspberry (Rubus spp.),
greenbrier (Smilax spp.), and witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) [7,8].

Common serviceberry is a late successional to climax species in
mixed-hardwood forests of the central United States [13].

In the northern part of its range, common serviceberry flowers at the
same time its leaves emerge in April and May.  Fruits are produced in
June and July [20].  In southern parts of its range, common serviceberry
flowers in March and produces fruit from June through August [1,4].


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Common serviceberry can sprout from root crowns and stumps following fire [19].  Some reestablishment from seed dispersed from off-site may also occur. FIRE REGIMES: 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". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY:    survivor species; on-site surviving root crown    off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1 & 2


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Fire top-kills common serviceberry [19]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT: August burning of slash piles in the forest of lower Michigan killed most of the common serviceberry on the site [19].  Stumps and roots sprouted the following year, but much of common serviceberry found on the site was established from seed dispersed by birds and mammals.  Studies in Pennsylvania showed contradictory results in the closely related species, Amelanchier canadensis [9].  A. canadensis was not present on burned sites until more than 15 years following fire but was prolific on unburned sites. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Common serviceberry will recolonize sites following fire [18,19]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE: Following wildfire in a spruce-fir forest of Appalachia, common serviceberry was present in stands after 30 years, but was less than 1 percent of the total basal area.  Specific effects of the fire on common serviceberry were not studied [18].  For fire information on a related species, see Amelanchier alnifolia. The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species, including common serviceberry, that was not available when this species review was originally written: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Amelanchier arborea
REFERENCES:  1.  Brinkman, K. A. 1974. Amelanchier Med.  serviceberry. In: Schopmeyer, C.        S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.        Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service: 212-215.  [7516]  2.  Busing, Richard T.; Clebsch, Edward E. C.; Eagar, Christopher C.;        Pauley, Eric F. 1988. Two decades of change in a Great Smoky Mountains        spruce-fir forest. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 115(1): 25-31.        [4491]  3.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905]  4.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p.        (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny        Series; vol. 2).  [14935]  5.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998]  6.  Gottschalk, Kurt W. 1988. Gypsy moth and regenerating Appalachian        hardwood stands. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E.,        Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands:        Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03.        Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 241-254.  [13950]  7.  Hall, Christine N.; Kuss, Fred R. 1989. Vegetation alteration along        trails in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. 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Early vegetal succession        following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall        Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council        fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No.        14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373.  [1496] 12.  Masters, Ronald E. 1991. Effects of fire and timber harvest on        vegetation and cervid use on oak-pine sites in Oklahoma Ouachita        Mountains. In: Nodvin, Stephen C.; Waldrop, Thomas A., eds. Fire and the        environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an        international symposium; 1990 March 20-24; Knoxville, TN. Gen. Tech.        Rep. SE-69. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 168-176.  [16648] 13.  Parker, G. R.; Leopold, D. J.; Eichenberger, J. K. 1985. Tree dynamics        in an old-growth, deciduous forest. Forest Ecology and Management.        11(1&2): 31-57.  [13314] 14.  Preston, Richard J., Jr. 1948. North American trees. Ames, IA: The Iowa        State College Press. 371 p.  [1913] 15.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 16.  Robinson, W. Ann. 1982. Experimental taxonomy in the genus Amelanchier.        II: Do the taxa in the genus Amelanchier form an agamic complex?.        Rhodora. 84: 85-99.  [17998] 17.  Robinson, W. Ann. 1986. Effect of fruit ingestion on Amelanchier seed        germination. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 113(2): 131-134.        [4552] 18.  Saunders, Paul R.; Smathers, Garrett A.; Ramseur, George S. 1983.        Secondary succession of a spruce-fir burn in the Plott Balsam Mountains,        North Carolina. Castanea. 48(1): 41-47.  [8658] 19.  Scheiner, Samuel M.; Sharik, Terry L.; Roberts, Mark R.; Vande Kopple,        Robert. 1988. Tree density and modes of tree recruitment in a Michigan        pine-hardwood forest after clear-cutting and burning. Canadian        Field-Naturalist. 102(4): 634-638.  [8718] 20.  Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life        Sciences Misc. Publ. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p.  [12907] 21.  Trimble, G. R., Jr. 1972. Reproduction 7 years after seed-tree harvest        cutting in Appalachian hardwoods. Res. Pap. NE-223. Upper Darby, PA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 19 p.  [10924] 22.  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2018. PLANTS Database, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (Producer). Available: [342622] 23.  Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots        (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook        Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium.        724 p.  [11472] 24.  Wendel, G. W.; Kochenderfer, J. N. 1982. Glyphosate controls hardwoods        in West Virginia. Res. Pap. NE-497. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 7        p.  [9869]

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