Squirrels, Birds, Butterflies, Butterfly Larvae, Other Showy Insects
Attracts orange tip and elfin butterflies
Berries provide food for mammals and birds, and the dense growth provides shelter. The shrub has good nutrient levels throughout the year. It is browsed mostly in spring when it provides good to excellent forage for cattle, goats, sheep, and wild ungulates.
Habitat Information: It has been difficult to know the status of the Saskatoon serviceberry in Ontario, because these specimens tend to fit into the species Amelanchier humilis, a more common Ontario serviceberry. They are both of similar habit and other characteristics. It does occur rarely in more northern Ontario regions, beginning at the Southernmost point of Lake Superior and extending up through the Hudson Plains ecozone. (Soper & Heimburger, 1994)
Fruit source for Ruffed Grouse, Hairy Woodpecker, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore Oriole, and a variety of others (Illinois Wildflowers)
Garden Uses: Important in ornamental planting already, this plant can be found in many plant nurseries in Canada. The colouring of the leaves can be a striking orange red sunset colour in the fall which makes it extremely attractive for ornamental uses (Evergreen). The fruit is attractive to songbirds. In garden settings, rust, leaf spot, fire blight and powdery mildew are some diseases as well as sawfly, leaf miner and borers, and scale are insect that with which this plant can be afflicted. The form of this plant is attractive. Great for shaded stream banks and pond sites. (Evergreen)
Insect Relationships: Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp.), Syrphid flies, Tachinid flies, Buprestid beetles (Acmaeodera spp.). Caterpillars of the butterflies Satyrium liparops strigosum (Striped Hairstreak) and Limenitis arthemis astyanax (Red-Spotted Purple). Moth caterpillars include Lomigrapha semiclarata (Blue Spring Moth), Catocala praeclara (Chokeberry Underwing), several Acronicta spp. (Dagger Moths), and others. Other insects include the wood-boring larvae of a variety of Buprestid beetles and long-horned beetles, Crepidodera violacea (a leaf beetle), Corythucha cydoniae (Hawthorn Lace Bug), larvae of the sawflies Arge clavicorne and Onycholyda luteicornis, the aphid Prociphilus corrugatans, and the psyllid Trioza obtusa. (Illinois Wildflowers)
Traditional Edible, Medicinal Uses: The berries of this species are often considered the most flavorful for eating. About the size of a blueberry the saskatoon berry is popular as an edible berry, and is a more common shrub in the western provinces. (Plants for a Future) The fruit tastes like a blueberry with raspberry together with a bit of apple. (Evergreen) Rich in iron and copper, it can be dried and was made into pemmican. Medicinally used by North American First Nations, but little used in modern herbalism. Infusion of Inner bark used for snow blindness. Decoction of fruit midly laxative. Used for stomach upset, appetite restorer, ear and eye drops. Root decoction to treat colds. Use to stabilize frequent menstruation. Stem decoction, combined with snowberry is diaphoretic, and sweat inducer, and for lung and chest infections. A decoction with bitter cherry (P. emarginata) used as contraceptive, and other recipes for contraceptives involving this plant were used. Was also said to clean out and help heal women after birth, stop menstural periods after the birth, thus acting as birth control. (Plants for a Future)
Other Uses: Twigs twisted to make rope. Hardwood of main branches used to make tool handles. Wood can be made even harder by fire heating, and can be moulded when hot. Stems used in handles and rims and as a stiffening in basket making (Plants for a Future)
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