Content Detail

Garden serviceberry, also known as snowy mespilus, is a European native. The upright, erect, multi-stemmed shrub is found on limestone outcrops and in rocky woods. The white spring flowers and edible blue berries attract birds and wildlife. This plant may be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early winter, early spring, midsummer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Native geographic location and habitat:

This shrub is native to central and southern Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East.

Attracts birds & wildlife:

Its fruit attracts birds and other wildlife.

Bark color and texture:

Its bark is smooth and gray.

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

Leaves are alternate, oval to elliptical, and grow 2 to 3 inches long. Leaves are green in summer changing to orange, red, and yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are erect, five-petal flower clusters that appear in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruit is a blue, fleshy, edible berry.

Plant care:

This is an upright, erect  shrub reaching 3 to 9 feet high and wide. It prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun, and is not tolerant of shady conditions. May be difficult to find in nurseries. Tolerates acidic and alkaline soils.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Fungal leaf spots, cedar-rust, and fire blight are common problems.


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