(Amelanchier Canadensis) Apple family

Flowers - Pure white, over 1 in. across, on long, slender

pedicels, in spreading or drooping racemes, with silky, reddish

bracts, early falling, among them. Calyx persistent, 5-parted; 5

long, narrow, tapering petals, 3 or 4 times the length of calyx;

numerous stamens inserted on calyx throat; 2 to 5 styles, hairy

at base. Stem: A large shrub or tree, usually much less than 25

ft. high, rarely twice that height, wood very hard and heavy.

Leaves: Alternate, oval, tapering at tip, finely saw-edged,

smooth (like the pear tree's), often hairy when young. Fruit.

Round, crimson, sweet, edible, seedy berries, ripe in June and


Preferred Habitat - Woodland borders, pasture thickets, dry soil.

Flowering Season - March-May.

Distribution - Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico, westward over

a thousand miles.

Silvery-white chandeliers, hanging from the edges of the woods,

light Flora's path in earliest spring, before the trees and

shrubbery about them have begun to put forth foliage, much less

flowers. Little plants that hug the earth for protection while

rude winds rush through the forest and across the hillsides, are

already starring her way with fragile, dainty blossoms; but what

other shrub, except the serviceberry's twin sister the shadbush,

or perhaps the spicebush, has the temerity to burst into bloom

while March gusts howl through the naked forests? Little female

bees of the Andrena tribe, already at work collecting pollen and

nectar for generations yet unborn, buzz their gratitude about the

beautiful feathery clusters that lean away from the crowded

thicket with a wild, irregular grace. Nesting birds have abundant

cause for gratitude also, for the attractive, sweet berries, that

ripen providentially early; but, of course, the bees which

transfer pollen from flower to flower, and the birds which drop

the seeds far and wide, are not the receivers of wholly

disinterested favors.

The SHADBUSH or SWAMP SUGAR-PEAR (A. Botryapium), because it was

formerly accounted a mere variety (oblongifolia) of the preceding

species, still shares with it its popular names; but swamps,

river banks, brook sides, and moist thickets are its habitat.

Consequently both its inflorescence and pale green, glossy

foliage are covered with a sort of whitish cotton, absorbent when

young, to prevent the pores from clogging with vapors arising

from its damp retreats. Late in the season, when streams narrow

or dry up altogether, and the air becomes drier, as the sun rises

higher in the heavens, the foliage is usually quite smooth. It

will be noticed that, lovely as the shadbush is, its smaller

flowers have shorter pedicels than the serviceberry's;

consequently its feathery sprays, which are flung outward to the

sunshine in April and May, lack something of the grace for which

its sister stands preeminent. Under cultivation both species

assume conventional form, and lose the wild irregularities of

growth that charm us in Nature's garden. Indians believed, what

is an obvious fact, that when this bush whitens the swampy river

banks, shad are swimming up the stream from the sea to spawn.

Then, too, the nighthawk, returning from its winter visit south,

booms forth its curious whirring, vibrating, jarring sound as it

drops through the air at unseen heights, a dismal, weird noise

which the red man thought proceeded from the shad spirits come to

warn the schools of fish of their impending fate.

JULIAN HAWTHORNE. LABRADOR TEA facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail