The shrub Amelanchier alnifolia shrub — also known as the Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon, Shadbush, or Juneberry — is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose family).
It is natively found along the Pacific coast of North America from California to Alaska, extending throughout Canada to the northeastern provinces.
Amelanchier alnifolia photograph by Malcolm Manners.
Amelanchier alnifolia is frequently grown as an ornamental shrub in North American gardens, flowering from April to June and fruiting from July to August.
This shrub has a long history in North America as a food source for Native Americans; the berries are eaten fresh, dried, or in sweet and savory foods as a sweetening and flavoring agent.
Amelanchier alnifolia has edible berries, photograph by GlacierNPS; CC.
The branches, twigs, and bark can be boiled into a medicinal tea to treat a variety of ailments.
It is best to plant the Saskatoon in spring. If growing multiple plants, separate them at about one metre (3 feet) apart to optimize air flow quality and reduce the likelihood of disease.
They are cold-hardy and adapt well to various soil environments, but do prefer a well-drained soil.
When the plant is young, prune weak and diseased branches and stems with a pair of sharp pruning shears.
If planning to grow the Saskatoon for fruit production, be mindful that healthy stems produce prime fruit once the plant has aged two to four years old.
Saskatoons do not compete well with invasive weeds, so ensure that your planting area is free and clear of weeds before planting this shrub. It is also recommended to integrate a pest control system into your growing process.
Growing Amelanchier alnifolia can reward you with an attractive shrub and delicious berries with a variety of uses - with regular care, you should have a fully-mature fruit bearing plant within three to five years!
Amelanchier alnifolia plant botanical picture, sourced by the Biodiversity Heritage Library; CC.
Close up of Saskatoon flowers, these plants bloom from late spring through to early summer, photograph by Matt Lavin; CC.