Saskatoon Serviceberry - Amelanchier alnifolia
MNPS Threat Rank
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
, 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 :
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).
Moist to dry forest, grasslands, meadows, woodlands, avalanche slopes; plains, valleys to lower subalpine (Lesica et al. 2012).