Content Detail

Running serviceberry is a small, 4- to 6-foot-high suckering shrub with white flowers and dark blue edible fruits. Native to the northeastern United States into Ontario. May be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Small shrub (3-5 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil
  • Season of interest early fall, early spring, early summer, mid fall, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native from Newfoundland to Virginia, Minnesota to Ontario

Attracts birds & butterflies:

Fruits attract many song birds.

Bark color and texture: 

Stems are medium gray to tan.

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

Alternate; finely toothed, oval to almost circular, medium to dark green leaves are 1-3 inches long, with smooth margins. Blue-green color changes to variable shades of yellow, orange and red in autumn.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:  

Showy, white flowers in drooping clusters appear before the leaves emerge in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Small, round, green berries mature to a dark purplish-black in summer. Edible berries are often used in pies.

Plant care:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a somewhat wide range of soils including sandy, loamy, and clay.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Rust, leaf spot, fire blight and powdery mildew are occasional disease problems.  Leaf miner and scale are occasional insect pests.


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