Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: This cool season species is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree 3-12 meters tall with smooth brown bark, slender branches, and oblong leaves sharply and coarsely toothed along the upper margin (Elias 1980). For Amelanchier alnifolia, a typical ramet is comprised of long shoots and short shoots; only short shoots bear fruit. Floral buds are formed in the first season on branches at least one-year-old, and fruit develops the following season (St. Pierre and Steeves 1990). Clusters of perfect white flowers appear in spring before leaves, and dark purple to black berrylike pomes are produced in mid- or late summer (USDA Forest Service 1974). It is primarily self pollinated but may be cross-pollinated via insects or wind (Davidson and Mazza 1991; Olson 1984). Recent studies show basic chromosome number is n=17; there are diploid (2n=34) as well as tetraploid plants (4n=68) (Pruski and others 1991). The fruit contains 4-10 dark brown seeds with leathery seed coats (USDA Forest Service 1974). This species may not flower and reproduce before 10 years or longer, especially on harsh sites (Wasser and Shoemaker 1982).
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Pacific serviceberry occurs west of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges, from British Columbia south to central California (USDA Forest Service 1974).
Habitat: The plant may be found in open woods, along canyons, or on hillsides, from near sea level to subalpine altitudes (Anonymous 1976). Pacific serviceberry is reported as a component of Quercus garryana, prairie, mixed conifer, and Pseudotsuga menziesii/Pinus contora/Berberis nervosa/Spirea betulifolia plant communities (Franklin and Dryness 1973).