Spring is late this year. Magnolias are blooming, finally. Buds on the Bradford Pears here on Great Plain Avenue are just starting to open. A lot of other flowering trees will be competing for attention in coming weeks, but with this post we’re highlighting a lesser-known spring flowering tree that deserves more attention.
Serviceberry is a multi-trunked small tree, although it’s sometimes seen trimmed to a single trunk. We carry a cultivar called Autumn Brilliance, a selection of a natural hybrid of two Massachusetts native Serviceberry species. Maturing to around 15-20 feet high and wide, it’s a great size for suburban landscapes. It comes out with lovely white flowers in spring, but Serviceberry offers year-round interest. After flowering, young leaves emerge purplish, turn green in the summer and then–as the cultivar name implies–a brilliant red in the fall. The smooth silvery bark is attractive in the winter.
But wait, there’s more! Serviceberry produces a tasty dark colored fruit in June. The fruit can be eaten as is or used in pies and preserves.
Serviceberry does best in full sun or a little shade in an open area with good air circulation and is drought tolerant once established.