E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. ex M. Roem.
saskatoon (Saskatoon serviceberry)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #72900)

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Distribution of Amelanchier alnifolia
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Amelanchier alnifolia var. semiintegrifolia

Species Information

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Shrub or rarely a small tree, 1-6 (10) m tall; stems slender, smooth; twigs smooth, reddish-brown; bark greyish to red-brown; sometimes spreading by rhizomes or stolons and forming dense colonies.
Alternate, deciduous, oval to oblong-elliptic or nearly round, saw-toothed mostly on top half but sometimes nearly entire, broadly rounded to somewhat squared-off at the tip, smooth to variously hairy at least below; blades 2-5 cm long, stalks 0.5-2 cm long.
Inflorescences short, drooping to erect, leafy or bracted, terminal racemes at the ends of branches; flowers 3 to 20, on slender ascending stalks; corollas white, the petals 5, linear to lanceolate, 6-25 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes lance-triangular, 1-5 mm long, the hypanthium 1-2 mm long; ovaries inferior, smooth or hairy on top; stamens about 20.
Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), crowned with the persistent calyx, globe- to egg-shaped, 5-14 mm long, dull red initially, becoming purple to nearly black, with a white bloom.
Four intergrading varieties occur in BC:

1. Petals less than 12 mm long; tops of ovaries strongly hairy.

2. Flowers generally with 4 styles; leaves entire or with a few tiny teeth near tips................. var. humptulipensis (G.N. Jones) C.L. Hitchc.

2. Flowers generally with 5 styles; leaves usually strongly toothed on upper half..................... var. alnifolia

1. Petals over 12 mm long; tops of ovaries hairy or smooth.

3. Petals generally less than 16 mm long and 4 mm wide; calyx lobes averaging less than 3 mm long; top of ovary woolly....................var. semiintegrifolia (Hook.) C.L. Hitchc.

3. Petals generally greater than 16 mm long and up to 8.5 mm wide; calyx lobes averaging more than 3 mm long; top of ovary smooth to moderately hairy...................... var. cusickii (Fern.) C.L. Hitchc.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Red
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic, open rocky slopes, bluffs, gullies, thickets, forest margins and open forests in the lowland to subalpine zones; common throughout BC, especially in C and S BC, east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, E to AB and S to CA, NE, ND, CO and AZ.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Amelanchier alnifolia

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 928 2500
Slope Gradient (%) -2 27 244
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 193 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(10), BAFA(1), BG(237), BWBS(460), CDF(77), CWH(275), ESSF(470), ICH(2123), IDF(2603), MH(6), MS(1053), PP(538), SBPS(118), SBS(1618), SWB(3)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant to shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, North American deciduous shrub distributed equally in the Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal, cool temperate, cool semiarid, and cool mesothermal climates. Its occurrence increases with increasing continentality, and decreases with increasing precipitation and elevation. Common to scattered in clearings and open-canopy Douglas-fir and lodgepole pine stands on water-shedding sites. Characteristic of young­seral forests on disturbed sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Amelanchier alnifolia var. pumila (Torr. & A. Gray) C.K. Schneid.
Amelanchier basalticola Piper
Amelanchier cuneata Piper
Amelanchier glabra Greene
Amelanchier polycarpa Greene

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References