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Amelanchier canadensis

Shadbush flowers bloom before its leaves grow back in spring. (Chicago Botanic Garden)
Shadbush flowers bloom before its leaves grow back in spring. (Chicago Botanic Garden)

The shadbush is a small, deciduous tree with white flower clusters that bloom in early spring. It grows in wet areas such as swamps and forested wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, mostly in the coastal plain.


The shadbush has rounded, elongated leaves with fine teeth along the edges. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches and turn brilliant red, orange and yellow in autumn. Clusters of white, five-petaled flowers bloom in March through May before leaves grow. Fruits are round and reddish-purple. Several stems grow from the tree’s base. Shadbush grows to 25 feet tall.


Grows along the edges of forested wetlands, bogs and swamps, but is also found in low, open woods. Can be planted in wet and moist areas in yards.


Throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. Native to the coastal plain, which includes Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

Fruits appear after flowers bloom in spring, then turn blackish as they mature in June-July. Fruits contain seeds; birds and other wildlife eat the ripe fruits and spread the seeds.

Other Facts:

  • The shadbush is also known as the serviceberry, shadblow and juneberry. It got its name because it blooms around the same time shad return to their spawning grounds in the Bay’s freshwater rivers and streams.
  • It is a member of the rose family, which includes apple, cherry and hawthorn trees. Its fruits are flavorful and edible, but birds and other wildlife usually get to them first.
  • Native Americans relied on shadbush fruits as food and medicine
  • Shadbush can be confused with two other common serviceberry species: A. arborea and A. laevis. Shadbush is the only serviceberry species that can grow in wet, swampy soil.

Sources and Additional Information:

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