Amelanchier alnifolia “Western Serviceberry/Saskatoon” Rosaceae

Missoula, MT
April, 25 2015
Robert Niese

These common shrubs are some of the first plants to bloom in spring. Their bright white flowers light up our hillsides just as they’re starting to turn green. This plant was a staple food source for many native peoples who ate their berries raw (although they’re not as moist or sweet as other Rosaceae berries) or mashed them and shaped them into biscuits which were dried and stored for winter (side note: serviceberry is also a common ingredient in pemmican, which often is stored in biscuit shapes, so this note about dried biscuits could be a reference to pemmican, and saskatoon biscuits might not be a real thing…I’m not sure. Do any of my followers know?). Today, many local foragers will utilize these berries in jams and pies and often sweeten them for trail mixes and granola.

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