Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Juneberry



This is the flower of the earliest blooming local, a lovely shrub or small tree of the rose family native to the Three Rivers area. Starting in June there will be lovely sweet berries. Amelanchier has many species in Michigan; this one is probably A. arborea.

The plant is called "Juneberry" locally, referring to its early fruiting. While visiting relatives on Martha's Vineyard I learned that it is called "Shadblow" there; the reason I was given is that it blooms in early April when the shad, a valuable food fish related to herring, comes up from the ocean to New England rivers to spawn. "Blow" in the sense of "full-blown", but I'm not sure whether it refers to the blooming of the fish or the blooming of the trees!

Most plants indigenous to North America also have common names that reflect the general irritation of early European settlers when they found themselves having to deal with unfamiliar plants. In that vein the Amelanchier are also called "serviceberry" - implying that the plant's berries would "serve" as a (barely tolerable) substitute for more familiar European fruits.

1 comment:

helenmac said...

wonderful photos of the marsh marigold and the serviceberry! what a wonderful world our spring is!