Amelanchier laevis, commonly known as Allegheny serviceberry or smooth serviceberry, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is native to eastern North America, ranging from Ontario and Quebec to Florida and Texas.
Here are some key features of Amelanchier laevis:
- Size: Typically grows to 15-30 feet (4.5-9 meters) in height, with a spread of 10-20 feet (3-6 meters).
- Leaves: The leaves are simple, alternate, and ovate in shape, with a serrated margin. They are 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) long and turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall.
- Flowers: The flowers are white or pink and appear in early spring before the leaves emerge. They are borne in clusters of 3-20, and each flower has 5 petals.
- Fruit: The fruit is a small, reddish-purple berry that is edible and has a sweet taste. It ripens in early summer and is often used in jams, jellies, and pies.
- Habitat: Amelanchier laevis grows in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, forests, and streambanks. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade.
- Cultivation: This species is commonly used as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks. It is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. It can be propagated by seed or cuttings.
- Wildlife: The fruit of Amelanchier laevis is an important food source for many species of birds, including robins, cedar waxwings, and thrushes. It is also eaten by mammals such as bears, raccoons, and squirrels.
Overall, Amelanchier laevis is a beautiful and useful plant that provides food and habitat for wildlife and can enhance the aesthetics of a landscape.