Content Detail

Downy serviceberry is a four-season tree offering white flowers in spring, small red berries in summer, excellent fall color, and gray bark in winter. The fruit is usually eaten very quickly by birds.

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks, Under utility lines, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Mature height 15-25 feet
  • Mature width Variable
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Narrow
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Intolerant of pollution
  • Wildlife Game birds, Game mammals, Small mammals, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 8 This species is common throughout the Midwest and is found in a variety of habitats.

Bark color and texture:

The tree bark is silvery-gray and the smooth bark develops fissures as it ages.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple leaves are alternate, 2 to 3 inch long, and can be oval to elliptically shaped. Its green leaves turn to red, yellow, and orange in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

The tree has numerous pink-tinged buds which open into five-petaled, white pendulous flowers in the spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The 1/3-inch edible fruit starts out green, changing to red, then blue-black in June.

Plant care:

Downy serviceberry benefits from a mulch layer to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures. It tolerates a wide range of conditions.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Cedar-rust and leaf spots are occasional problems for this tree. Downy serviceberry is tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Related hybrids

The following are cultivars of Amelanchier x grandiflora, which is a hybrid between downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) and Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis).

Autumn Brilliance apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’):

This tree grows 20 to 25 feet high and wide with red fall color.

Cole’s Select apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Cole’s Select’):

This variety grows 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, is upright, and has a spreading habit. It has orange-red fall color and thick, glossy summer foliage.

Forest Prince apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Forest Prince’):

This tree can reach 20 feet high and 15 feet wide. It has an oval habit and red-orange fall color. 

Princess Diana apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’):

This tree can reach 20 to 25 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide. It has an upright habit and provides excellent red fall color.

Robin Hill apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’):

This variety reaches 20 to 25 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide. It has an upright-oval habit and its leaves turn red to yellow in fall.


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