Snowy mespilus – Amelanchier lamarckii

Trees & Shrubsflowering / ornamentals – Snowy mespilus – Amelanchier lamarckii

Amelanchier lamarckii, also called juneberry, serviceberry or shadbush, is a large deciduous flowering shrub or small tree in the family Rosaceae. It is widely naturalised in Europe, where it is known as snowy mespilus or snowy mespil. The European plants are descendants of plants originally from eastern North America; there has been some escape also in North America of plants apparently secondarily derived from those European forms.

It has white flowers that are star-shaped. Its young berry-like pome fruits are dark red when young, but become dark purple when ripe. The fruits are edible and have an apple and sweet flavour. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit and is listed as a naturalised species.

This form is an apomictic microspecies, and presumed to be of hybrid origin (A. laevis and either A. arborea or A. canadensis) and therefore under the rules of botanical nomenclature it would be known as Amelanchier × lamarckii. Its common name “snowy mespilus” reflects its close relationship with the medlar genus, Mespilus. Wikipedia

Listed in flowering trees & Shrubs

AMELANCHIER ALNIFOLIA.—Dwarf June Berry. N.W. America, 1888. This is a shrub of great beauty, growing about 8 feet high, and a native of the mountains from British America to California. This differs from A. canadensis in having much larger and more brilliant-tinted fruit, and in its shorter and more compact flower racemes. The shape of the leaves cannot be depended on as a point of recognition, those before me, collected in the native habitat of the plant, differing to a wide extent in size and shape, some being coarsely serrated while others are almost entire.

A. CANADENSIS.—June Berry. Canada, 1746. Unquestionably this is one of the most beautiful and showy of early flowering trees. During the month of April the profusion of snow-white flowers, with which even young specimens are mantled, render the plant conspicuous for a long way off, while in autumn the golden yellow of the dying-off foliage is quite as remarkable. Being perfectly hardy, of free growth, and with no particular desire for certain classes of soils, the June Berry should be widely planted for ornamental effect. In this country it attains to a height of 40 feet, and bears globose crimson fruit. There are several varieties, including A. canadensis rotundifolia, A. canadensis oblongifolia, and A. canadensis oligocarpa, the latter being by some botanists ranked as a species.

A. VULGARIS.—Common Amelanchier. South of Europe, 1596. This is the only European species, and grows about 16 feet in height. It has been in cultivation in this country for nearly 300 years. Generally this species flowers earlier than the American ones, has rounder and less deeply serrated leaves, but the flowers are much alike. A. vulgaris cretica, from Crete and Dalmatia, is readily distinguished by the soft white hairs with which the under sides of the leaves are thickly covered. To successfully cultivate the Amelanchiers a good rich soil is a necessity, while shelter from cutting winds must be afforded if the sheets of flowers are to be seen in their best form.