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Utah Serviceberry, Pale Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry - Amelanchier utahensis

Family: Rosaceae - Rose family Genus Common Name: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shadbush Native Status: NativeShrub, Tree
Amelanchier utahensis - Utah Serviceberry, Pale Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry. The taxonomy of Amelanchier is a very confusing, not only to me but also to professionals. The genus has been divided into as few as 6 species and as many as 33. The USDA Plants Database currently lists 20 species with 28 total taxa. The University of Maine Department of Biological Sciences has excellent information about Amelanchier where they list 16 species and and 19 total taxa. ITIS lists 19 species.

While the USDA lists four species of Amelanchier in Idaho, where these photos were taken, ITIS and the University of Maine have one of those classified as a A. alnifolia var. pumila, and another as a synonym of A. utahensis. Both of these species are relatively short and will usually have multiple stems, so most consider these to be shrubs rather than trees. A. utahensis -Utah Serviceberry - can be up to 15 feet tall. It will have 2 to 5 styles (A. alnifolia - Dwarf Shadbush - will have 4 or 5), 10 to 18 stamens (Dwarf Shadbush has 12 to 15), and the twigs are hairy at flowering and frequently so after flowering, while those of Dwarf Shadbush are usually without hairs at flowering. The final characteristic that swayed me to Utah Serviceberry for this identification are the number of lateral veins in the leaves. Utah Serviceberry has 7 to 13 (or more), while Dwarf shadbush will have 7 to 9.

The fruit of Utah Serviceberry is edible, and is an important food for wildlife, as are the leaves. The foliage of this species shows up earlier than many other plants, providing browse early relatively early in the year.

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Amelanchier utahensis

Distribution of Amelanchier utahensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 25 Feb 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Boise National Forest, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-13Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
The flowers of Amelanchier utahensis have 5 white petals, 10 to 18 stamens, and 2 to 5 styles. The leaves are mostly open at flowering. The USDA Plants Database doesn't list this species in Boise County, Idaho, but to my recollection that is where this photo was taken - along route 21 just before the descent into Lowman. USDA does list it in Ada County, the next county to the south.
Amelanchier utahensis

Site: Boise National Forest, Boise County, ID Date: 2010-June-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves of Utah Serviceberry (and some others Serviceberries) are usually toothed over half of the leave, with the twig half of the leaf being untoothed. The number of lateral veins in the leaf is a species indicator, with Utah Serviceberry having 7 to 13 by some accounts, but since Amelanchier pallida is now considered synonymous with A. utahensis, there may be as many as 24 veins.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Amelanchier utahensis

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2018
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer