Amelanchier alnifolia

(Western serviceberry, Saskatoon serviceberry, Juneberry)



Extends from northern Alaska south to California and east to Ontario, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico.


Climate, elevation

Range from dry rocky slopes in full sunlight to partial shade of conifers and in moist, deep, and fertile soils.  Moisture is a limiting factor; plants not usually present in areas with less than 14" annual precipitation.


Local occurrence (where, how common)

Common throughout the Northwest, frequently in thickets.


Habitat preferences

Found on forested slopes, open rocky woods, cliff edges, wide prairies, or along side streams or lakes; also bogs and wet sites.  It likes to follow fence rows and to meander along the edges of woods.


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

Very cold hardy (to –20° C) and draught tolerant. Not invasive.


Associated species

Vine maples, all manner of wild roses and other shrubby plants or small trees. Companions are often windbreak members or woodland plants.


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seed, division, layering; or dig up 2 - 3 year old suckers in the winter; these suckers will generally start to produce within a couple of years.


Collection restrictions or guidelines

Collect fruit when ripe, in late summer.


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

Needs to be cold-stratified for 3-6 months to break seed dormancy. Expect a germination rate of less than 50%.


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)


Recommended seed storage conditions

Seeds not sown in the fall should not be allowed to dry out. 


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Propagate from seed easily, but division most successful method. Expect a germination rate of less than 50%, and the seedlings will grow about 1 foot per year.


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Favorite soil is a rich loamy mix, but they will grow in just about any kind of soil as long as good drainage is provided.  Coarse to medium texture, well to moderately well drained. Soil moisture moist to average; pH: 6.1 - 6.5.


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

Seeds: Expect a germination rate of less than 50%;

Suckers/Cuttings:  Most successful method.


Recommended planting density

Can be grown with a single trunk or a multiple trunked grove. They make an excellent windbreak when planted fairly close together so the branches can intertwine to form a living fence.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

No special requirements if planted in moist, well-drained soil. 


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Seedlings will grow about 1 foot per year; to 6 meters with 4-5 m spread; live about 60 years.


Sources cited

·        Leigh, M.  1999.  Grow You Own Native Landscape.  Native Plant Salvage Project ; WSU Cooperative Extension—Thurston County.

·        Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast Washington, Oregon British Columbia & Alaska. BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 527 p.




Data compiled by Mike Cooksey; 14 April 2003.