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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

Photograph

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #72900)


Map

E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Amelanchier alnifolia
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

General:
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.
Leaves:
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.
Flowers:
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.
Fruits:
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.
Notes:
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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Ecology

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

Avg

Min

Max

Elevation (metres)
928 0 2500
Slope Gradient (%)
27 -2 244

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

193 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
9985
Modal BEC Zone Class
IDF

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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Synonyms

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