Rose Family (Rosaceae). Native shrubs or small trees to 10 meters tall, with a narrow, rounded crown, the twigs often red-brown to purplish, becoming gray; bark smooth, grayish, "striped" with vertical fissures and very ornamental. Leaves: deciduous, alternate, simple, oval to oblong, 5-13 cm long, glabrous above, pubescent and paler beneath, the base rounded or heart-shaped, acute or acuminate at the tip, with finely toothed margins. Flowers: 3-15 in elongate clusters at the branch tips, before the leaves appear; petals 5, white, 10-14 mm long and strap-like. Fruits 6-12 mm wide, on long stalks, red-purple at maturity; seed 5-10 per fruit. The common name: in some regions, the flowers are gathered for church services, hence serviceberry or sarvis-berry; or “service” from “sarvis,” in turn a modification of the older name “Sorbus,” a closely related genus.
Variation within the species: Three varieties have been recognized: var. alabamensis (Britt.) G.N. Jones; var. arborea; and var. austromontana (Ashe) Ahles.
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