JUNEBERRY SERVICEBERRY MAYCHERRY
(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
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
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.
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Next: COMMON HAWTHORN: WHITE THORN SCARLETFRUITED THORN RED HAW
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