14 April 2014

Shadblow (serviceberry)

Posted by Callan Bentley

A sure sign of the advent of spring in Fort Valley is the blooming of the shadblow, an understory tree species with clusters of white flowers:


My wife and I took our son for a hike yesterday, and the shadblow was pretty much the only tree with anything on its branches:


I infer that shadblow is named for the fact that its flowers “blow” (bloom) when the shad swim upstream to spawn.


The shadblow goes by other names, too. Its scientific binomial is Amelanchier canadensis. One of the other colloquial names is “serviceberry,” so named (I’m told) because it signals that the ground has thawed – an important consideration if you had anyone die in your family over the winter. Now you can dig a grave and bury them, with a nice service.


Certainly it would serve as a glorious addition to any burial service. A variant on this name is influenced when the Appalachian hill country accent attempts “serviceberry:” Instead, the name emerges as “sarvisberry.”


Baxter wanted to smell one:


…Smells like spring’s here!