Plant people often make fun of “normal people” for wanting to buy plants the way they would buy furniture. You can’t find a tree that’s relatively small, that’s native to the area, has gorgeous white blooms in the spring and bright red berries in the fall, are you crazy? Oh wait – I just described a serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’).
Serviceberry lives in that fuzzy region I call “is it a small tree? Or a large shrub?” Average size is 15 to 25 feet tall, with a similar spread. You typically see them available as a multi-trunked tree, but standard from (single stem) serviceberry are occasionally available. The standard forms are great for two reasons: 1) they’re beautiful, and b) no one knows what the heck they are. It’s a great way to show off your plant nerd cred.
In the springtime, serviceberry are covered in profusions of white blooms. The berries start to show up early in the summer, which is why another common name for serviceberry is “June berry”. I’ve never eaten the berries – I have a sad bucket list – but they’re reportedly similar to blueberries in flavor and are used in jams and jellies. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is so named because in the fall, the leaves turn a brilliant shade of orangey-red.