So in lieu of another Sudoku Puzzle, I write:
As we creep (or in this year’s example, leap) out of winter, the look is always to the early species that bud and flower. One of those, mayhaw, was mentioned last.
Now a tree that has been a bit of a ghost in my world was Amelanchier arborea Downy Serviceberry.
(Sidebar: See Dr. Charles Allen’s writings about the other common name, Sarvis Berry)
It is native from Ontario to Texas and right through our Pineywoods but I hadn’t seen one since college dendrology classes except for field trips elsewhere.
Native enthusiasts are always asking if we offer it for sale and I’d say no. There are numerous offerings of other Serviceberry, Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance’ being most common, in the trade that we could buy for starter plants but it wasn’t our native one. No nursery availability here at Louisiana Growers.
So, determined, I began to watch for it. And lo and behold one spring I am walking down my south fence and see something blooming. “I’ll be …, a Sarvis!” Once one was found continued search located a smaller second one nearby and the digging spade came out.
Those two have been happy in my bird thicket landscape in front of the nursery office for ten years now.
It is certainly a harbinger of Spring, a very early burst of whispy white flowers that soon lead to a display of really red 3/8” fruits delighted by birds and tasty to humans.
The nude trunks are interesting and it is a true clump form small tree.
Collected fruits were given to a nursery friend for a couple of years and I once rooted a few cuttings as well, but we still don’t have any to offer.
Because, after all, it is still something about it that holds me back. The tree comes in to bloom on a Tuesday and by next Tuesday it’s done for the year. Don’t go out of town that week or you will miss the bloom till next year.
These two pictures are three days apart:
And, yes, what is that in full bloom on the right as the Serviceberry started and is still in bloom when it finished and will be for another two weeks? Prunus mexicana: Mexican Plum.
Here is the write up Susan edited for our tag on it:
Prunus mexicana MEXICAN PLUM Perennial deciduous tree is single-trunked, non-suckering, 15-35’ tall, with fragrant, showy, white flowers displayed before the leaves appear. Mature trunks become satiny, blue-gray with darker, horizontal bands. Plums turn from yellow to mauve to purple as they ripen from July through September. Sun - part shade, dry to moist, well-drained soils. The fruit is eaten fresh and made into preserves and is also consumed by birds and mammals.
Now that is a Spring blooming tree!
Maybe this post wasn’t about Serviceberry after all.