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Saskatoon Serviceberry - Amelanchier alnifolia
Other Names:  Amelanchier pumila

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

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General Description
PLANTS: Shrubs with smooth, reddish bark that becomes gray with age, 1-4 meters tall (Lesica et al. 2012).

LEAVES: 2-5 cm long and petiolate. Leaf blades are ovate to broadly elliptic, rounded to blunt at tips, and dentate (sharp, spreading, and coarse teeth) on their upper margins (Lesica et al. 2012). Blades are sparsely puberulent and glaucous beneath.

INFLORESCENCE: A short, bracteate raceme of 5 to 15 white-petaled flowers. Flowers: hypanthium 2–3 mm long; 5 reflexed sepals, 2–5 mm long; 5 white petals, 8–18 mm long; stamens 15-20; 1 pistil with 4-5 styles, united below. Pome 5–10 mm long, about 10-seeded, edible (Lesica et al. 2012).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The Amelanchier treatment by Campbell, Burgess, Cushman, Doucette, Dibble, and Frye in the Flora of North America (FNA), Volume 9 (2014) concludes that identification of taxa is difficult because Amelanchier has relatively few informative morphologic characters, and some of the morphologically useful characters possess variability. Some characteristics vary within individuals, across populations that exhibit different habits, and across geographies. In addition some Amelanchier taxa have not genetically diverged from one another and some taxa hybridize. Many of our native Amelanchier, including A. alnifolia, are used in horticulture, which creates cultivars. People who study Amelanchier can also differ in their opinions, and the literature includes numerous names at species, variety, and other infra-species levels. Amelanchier alnifolia is widespread and polymorphic.

Varieties
Based on herbarium specimens, three varieties have been reported for Montana: alnifolia, pumila, and semiintegrifolia. In the Manual of Montana Vascular Plants (2012), author Peter Lesica concluded that the characteristics for these varieties vary continuously and sometimes within the same population.

The Amelanchier alnifolia treatment by Campbell et al. in FNA accepts these three varieties and provides distinguishing characteristics. However, only variety alnifolia is listed for Montana.

The MTNHP database retains the name reported by an observer, but is only tracking Amelanchier alnifolia at the species level.

Saskatoon Serviceberry and Utah Serviceberry are often difficult to separate. Species are separated by a combination of characteristics. In Montana Utah Serviceberry might not be a valid species (Peter Lesica personal communication).

Saskatoon Serviceberry - (Amelanchier alnifolia):
* leaves with less persistent hairs; sparsely puberulent by flowering time and glaucous beneath,
* Raceme with 5-15 flowers,
* generally more stamen and style numbers; pistil with 4-5 styles,
* relatively longer petals, 8-18 mm long, and
* pome with fewer seeds, about 3-6.

Utah Serviceberry - (Amelanchier utahensis), native :
* permanent sparsely to moderately hairy leaves and twigs,
* rounded to truncate or emarginate leaf tips,
* relatively shorter petals, 5-10 mm long, and
* fewer stamen and style numbers; pistil with 2-3 styles.
* pome with more seeds, about 10.
* Leaves are pretty small (Walt Fertig personal communication).

Fruit (Pome)
Pome color has been used to separate Saskatoon and Utah Serviceberry, but color will depend upon fruit maturity, environmental conditions, plant health, and geography. Where moisture is abundant Saskatoon Serviceberry has mature fruits with dark purple skins and flesh, and are more juicy (Hitchcock et al. 1961; Walt Fertig personal communication). Utah Serviceberry fruits at maturity range from dark purplish to reddish blue skins with flesh that is more reddish, and may be dry or juicy (Hitchcock et al. 1961; Walt Fertig personal communication).

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round
 


Range Comments
AK to QC, south to CA, AZ, NM and MN (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5309

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Moist to dry forest, grasslands, meadows, woodlands, avalanche slopes; plains, valleys to lower subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Reproductive Characteristics
Amelanchier alnifolia is thought to hybridize with Sorbus scopulina (xAmelasorbus jackii Rehder) (FNA 2014).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Conway, T.M. 1982. Response of understory vegetation to varied lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) spacing intervals in Western Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bpzeman, MT: Montana State University. 76 p.
    • Dale, D. 1973. Effects of trail use under forests in the Madison Range, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 96 pp.
    • Dresser, M.A. 2015. Demographic responses of woodpeckers in relation to a Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic in the Elkhorn Mountains of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 71 p.
    • Endicott, C.L. 1996. Responses of riparian and stream ecosystems to varying timing and intensity of livestock grazing in central Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 115 p.
    • Eversman, S.T. 1968. A comparison of plant communities and substrates of avalanche and non-avalanche areas in south central Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 39 pp.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. (FNA). 2014. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 9. Magnoliophyta: Picramniaceae to Rosaceae. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. 752 pp.
    • Fogelsong, M.L. 1974. Effects of fluorides on Peromyscus maniculatus in Glacier National Park. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 52 p.
    • Gobeille, J.E. 1992. The effect of fire on Merriams turkey brood habitat in southeastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 61 p.
    • Guenther, G.E. 1989. Ecological relationships of bitterbrush communities on the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 73 p.
    • Holeckek, J.L. 1976. Initial effects of different species treatments and fertilizer rates on a mine spoils rehabilitation. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 91 p.
    • Johnson, T. W. 1982. An analysis of pack and saddle stock grazing areas in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. M.Sc.Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 105 p.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
    • Lonner, T.N. 1972. Age distributions and some age relationships of key browse plants on big game ranges in Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 79 p.
    • Martin, P.R. 1973. Ecology of skunkbrush sumac (Rhus trilobata Nutt.) in Montana with special reference to use by mule deer. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 97 p.
    • Martinka, R.R. 1970. Structural characteristics and ecological relationships of male blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus (Say)) territories in southwestern Montana. Ph.D Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 73 p.
    • Nielsen, L.S. 1978. The effects of rest-rotation grazing on the distribution of Sharp-tailed Grouse. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 52 p.
    • Nyberg, H.E. 1980. Distribution, movements and habitat use of mule deer associated with the Brackett Creek winter range, Bridger Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 106 p.
    • Rosgaard, A.I., Jr. 1981. Ecology of the mule deer associated with the Brackett Creek winter range in the Bridger Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 76 p.
    • Sikes, D.S. 1994. Influences of ungulate carcasses on Coleopteran communities in Yellowstone National Park, USA. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 179 p.
    • Simanonok, M. 2018. Plant-pollinator network assembly after wildfire. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 123 p.
    • Stansberry, B.J. 1991. Distribution, movements, and habitat use during spring, summer, and fall by mule deer in the North Salish Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 64 p.
    • Steerey, W. F. 1979. Distribution, range use and population characteristics of Mule Deer associated with the Schafer Creek winter range, Bridger Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 119 p.
    • Stewart, S.T. 1975. Ecology of the West Rosebud and Stillwater bighorn sheep herds, Beartooth Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 130 p.
    • Tuinstra, K. E. 1967. Vegetation of the floodplains and first terraces of Rock Creek near Red Lodge, Montana. Ph.D dissertation. Montana State University, Bozeman 110 pp.
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Saskatoon Serviceberry — Amelanchier alnifolia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from