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Amelanchier alnifolia

Amelanchier alnifolia

Saskatoon, serviceberry or Juneberry: by no means my favourite fruit, but worth the time to sample when photographing. Since it's edible, much has already been written about it online, so I'll simply suggest some sites today. Amelanchier alnifolia from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon describes the plant and its ethnobotany. It also notes that a diet of over 35% saskatoon can be fatal to mule deer because of the levels of the cyanogenic glycoside, prunasin, in the plant. Livestock can be similarly affected, though it mentions that poisoning is rare. Interested in other images? The Burke Museum's page on Amelanchier alnifolia has an excellent set.


Amelanchier alnifolia - Z2 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Amelanchier alnifolia - Z4-5 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk

Which came first, the Province or the fruit?

The story behind the common name 'serviceberry' is a favorite of mine. Back in the good old days in the north country, if someone died midwinter it was impossible to bury them properly until the ground thawed. Amelanchier alnifolia bloomed about the time that the ground had thawed sufficiently for burials, and so there were lots of services held then - hence 'serviceberry'.

Good question, Stan - I don't know.

Ah, Wikipedia has the answer: saskatoonberry (as I thought it might be, the city was named after the plant since the origins of the word reside in the Cree language).

Got to munch some of these growing next to the Yale University Bookstore (Connecticut) a few weeks ago.

Down here (Colorado) they are, to me at least, among the more palatable wild fruits-- so what have YOU got up there that's better, Daniel?

In New York state, at least, or maybe the whole eastern U.S., they are also known as shadblow as they blossom (blow) when the shad (a fish) are migrating or plentiful or in season or some such thing.

What I prefer over saskatoons would be wild strawberries, wild blueberries and wild raspberries...

how come this conversation didn't continue!

Over here we have no 'saskatoons'. But I have done research...Did you know this fruit is grown commercially in the 'prairie states' of
Canada in the thousands of acres.
Fruit has plenty magnesium in it - good for our brains! Also lots of vitamin C and phytochemicals against free radicals. Seems like we┬┤re missing out on a good thing.

Larry Kullberg, Karlstad, Sweden.

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