Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier arborea

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Botanical Name :Amelanchier arborea
Family : Rosaceae
Genus Amelanchier
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. arborea

Synonyms:   Amelanchier canadensis – Wiegand. non (L.)Med.,Mespilus arborea – F.Michx.
Other Names : Downy Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shadbush, Servicetree, Sarvis-tree

: Eastern N. AmericaNew Brunswick to Florida, west to Minnesota and Texas. ,Rich woods, thickets and slopes.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

Amelanchier arborea is generally 5-12 m tall. Occasionally, it can grow up to 20 m tall and reach into the overstory. The trunk can be up to 15 cm diameter (rarely to 40 cm diameter). The bark is smooth and gray

The buds are slender with a pointed tip, and usually more than two scales visible. The leaves are ovate or elliptical, 4-8 cm (rarely 10 cm) long and 2.5-4 cm wide, with pointed tips and finely serrated margins. A characteristic useful for identification is that the young leaves emerge downy on the underside. The fall color is variable, from orange-yellow to pinkish or reddish.

It has perfect flowers (so the plant is monoecious) that are 15-25 mm diameter, with 5 petals, emerging during budbreak in early spring. The petals are white. Flowers are produced on pendulous racemes 3-5 cm long with 4-10 flowers on each raceme. The flowers are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a reddish-purple pome, resembling a small apple in shape. They ripen in summer and are very popular with birds.]

It also commonly hybridizes with other species of Amelanchier, and identification can be very difficult as a result.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
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. 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. The plant becomes dwarfed when growing in sterile (poor and acid) ground. 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.

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.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit has a few small seeds at the centre, some forms are dry and tasteless whilst others are sweet and juicy. 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. The fruit is borne in small clusters and is up to 10mm in diameter. It is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Anthelmintic; Astringent; Tonic; VD.
A compound infusion of the plant has been used as an anthelmintic, in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a spring tonic. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

Other Uses
Soil stabilization.
The trees have an extensive root system and can be planted on banks etc for erosion control. Wood – close-grained, hard, strong, tough and elastic. It is one of the heaviest woods in N. America, weighing 49lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial interest, it is sometimes used for making handles.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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