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.

Donate

Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift