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Meet Serviceberry

Also known as Shadbush or Saskatoon, this small tree thrives as an early spring bloomer in forested areas, providing vital support to local wildlife. With various species scattered across the eastern and northeastern United States, the Serviceberry emerges as one of the first flowering trees after winter retreats. As you are driving around the next few weeks and you see white flowering trees in forests, chances are that they are Serviceberries. Legend has it that its name stems from signaling the ground thawing, marking the beginning of burial and traveling church services. Another name, Shadbush, originates from its synchronicity with the shad fish migration, a significant event for Native American and early settlers' diets along the East Coast.

Serviceberry presents itself as a versatile plant, ranging from a large multi-stemmed shrub-like form to a small tree, typically not exceeding 20 feet in height. While it typically blooms in mid-April, it can vary depending on the weather. It serves as a crucial resource for early pollinators like bees and butterflies, while also attracting deer and rabbits as a favored food source. Its fruits are relished by a plethora of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and insects, contributing to the ecosystem's biodiversity. Our red squirrels will gorge themselves on the berries as they ripen late in the summer.

With numerous native species and cultivated varieties across the US, Serviceberry dazzles with its white spring blooms, unassuming summer presence, and stunning autumn foliage, transitioning to burnished orange or yellow. Often found beneath the forest canopy, it maintains an elegant branching structure throughout winter, adding allure to woodland landscapes while sustaining the delicate balance of local wildlife populations.

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