poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Juneberry

Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.)

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In the corner of our property is a usually-inconspicuous bush struggling to become a tree.  This time of year it comes out of anonymity in full bloom.  Today it is covered in white flowers – in a week it will be a scattering of confetti on the ground.

This bush is one of the Amelanchier species, probably Amelanchier sanguinea var. alnifolia (Nutt.) P. Landry.  Amelanchier is perplexing to identify to species because of hybridization and other complex genetics.    It has many common names, including Serviceberry, Wild Pear, Juneberry, Shadbush, Wild Plum, Sugar Pear, Saskatoon, and Chuckley Pear.  In French it is called poiriers or petites poires.  It is called Shadbush because it blooms at the same time the shad are running.  The American Shad is an anadromous fish caught as it makes its way up the rivers for spawning.

Amelanchier is often found on disturbed sites, along roadways and fields.  It also likes the edges of thickets and wet areas.  This time of year, it beautifies the landscape with frail white bloom.

The fruit of Amelanchier is a berry-like pome, dark purple in color.  Each berry contains 10 seeds and the sepal is persistent on the blossom end of the berry.  The berries are edible and sweet, and can be eaten raw or used to make jam.



the shad are running


after the hard rain

and the wind between cold front and warm

the river runs brown

and for dinner we have fiddleheads

new potatoes and shad,

and last-July’s Serviceberry jam


Serviceberry bushes are torn fish nets

holes poked through with fingers

petals scattered on mossy stones

along the river shore





1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
©  Jane Tims   2012
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