South Dakota Native Plant Research
Rosaceae: Amelanchier alnifolia

Rosaceae: Amelanchier alnifolia


Download Seed: Reddish-brown seeds of the Saskatoon serviceberry are 3-4 mm long. (59 KB)

Download Seedling: Seedling growing in research garden at SDSU. (94 KB)

Download Vegetative: The leaves are 3-6 cm long. (1.0 MB)

Download Flowering: The 5-petal flowers emerge with the leaves in early May. (1.1 MB)

Download Fruiting: The fruit of serviceberry is a bright red juicy berry. (571 KB)

Download Thicket of Serviceberry (4.7 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Juneberry, Saskatoon serviceberry, serviceberry

Native American Name

Dakota: Wipazuka; Lakota: wípazutkȟaŋ


Amelanchier alnifolia is a perennial deciduous shrub or small tree which grows 1 m to 5 m in height (occasionally taller in very moist sites) and often forms thickets. The bark is thin, light brown and tinged with red; smooth or shallowly fissured. The leaves are alternate, oval to nearly circular, 2–5 cm long and 1–4.5 cm wide. The margins are entire below and toothed mostly above the middle. Serviceberries have white to pink flowers, borne in racemes, and bloom from April to June. Five sepals are green 1-3 mm long, triangular with the tips recurved. The 5 petals are white, 5-12 mm long and obovate, A shallowly cupped hypanthium of 3-4 mm is visible at anthesis. Each flower has 10-20 stamens and a pistil with 5 styles. The fruit is a deep red to dark purple, berry-like pome, 10-15 mm long and 8-11 mm wide. This species is commonly found open slopes and along streams throughout much of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

The fruit are eaten fresh, prepared in puddings, pies, and muffins, and dried like raisins and currants. Indigenous people used the fruit in soups, stews, meat dishes and pemmican.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect ripe fruit in late summer (July-Aug.)
Germination: Three month cold stratification. Acid scarification has also been recommended.
Vegetative Propagation:Plant softwood cuttings in May-June, Root cuttings 2' long can also be used for propagation, as can plant suckers.

Soils: Rich-moist medium (sand)
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Plants like moist but not soggy areas
Notes: "Root cuttings ¼' wide and 2' long can also be used for propagation."

Rosaceae: Amelanchier alnifolia