Amelanchier humilis Wiegand
Family: Rosaceae
Low Shadbush
Amelanchier humilis image
Morton Arboretum  
Shrub to 3 m tall Leaves: 2 - 5 cm long, 2 - 4 cm wide, elliptic to elliptic-oblong with a rounded to slightly pointed tip and a nearly heart-shaped or rounded base, toothed along upper two-thirds, with seven to thirteen vein pairs forking near the tip and ending in the teeth. At flowering, the leaves are expanding or fully expanded and covered with grayish white hairs. Flowers: borne in dense, upright, many-flowered inflorescences (racemes) 2 - 5 cm long, with silky hairy individual stalks to 1.3 cm long. Each flower is white and has a five-lobed calyx with margins rolling backward toward the lower surface (revolute) and five oblong to egg-shaped petals 7 - 10 mm long. Fruit: berry-like (pome), clustered, nearly black, spherical, juicy, covered with a whitish waxy coating (glaucous), containing ten seeds. Buds: 4 - 9 mm long, egg-shaped, dull or slightly shiny. Form: upright, colony-forming.

Similar species: Amelanchier sanguinea, Amelanchier humilis, and Amelanchier spicata are the three Amelanchier species in the Chicago Region under 3 m tall at maturity. Amelanchier sanguinea does not form colonies, has leaves that are half expanded at flowering, and flowers borne in loose drooping racemes with nearly hairless stalks. Amelanchier spicata has leaves that are one quarter to half expanded at flowering and leaf veins that interconnect near the margin.

Flowering: mid April to early May

Habitat and ecology: Rare in barren sandy fields, black oak savanas, and sandy soils.

Occurence in the Chicago region: native

Etymology: Amelanchier is the old French name of a species in this genus. Humilis means low-growing.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Known in Indiana as low juneberry. This species grows in colonies in very sandy soil in woods and along fence rows and roadsides. I planted roots of it 10 years ago and it has grown well. A few stems have come up from each root, otherwise it has not spread. The large fruit is edible and much relished by birds as is the fruit of all the species of the genus.