It’s time to consider the year-long beauty of a native tree and the reasons that it has two strange names: the Shadblow Tree (or Bush), also frequently called the Serviceberry Tree (or Bush).
In spring, the tree’s branches are covered with bright white flowers.
In summer, its red, pink, and purple berries add drama (and, are delicious fresh or baked in a pie).
In fall and early winter – now – the tops of its leaves turn red with yellowish ribs and veins, while their undersides reverse the striking color combination.
In winter, the tree’s sinewy multi-trunked form is an architectonic delight, especially when casting shadows on snow.
It was named a Shadblow Tree because it flowers when the shad run in the northeast. It was named a Serviceberry Tree because it flowers when the northeastern ground thawed enough to bury dead colonists in a service that included the tree’s blossoms.
By the way, the Journals of Lewis and Clark report that Serviceberries saved their lives when other food was not available. (Brooklin, Maine)