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Archive for May 8, 2011

Shadbush Flowering

The splashes of white that you see along the road and at the edges of woods right now are most likely the blossoms of our earliest white-flowered shrub, shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis), also known as serviceberry. (It flowers when the shad run, and when services for people who died during the winter used to be held). Because shadbush flowers before its leaves have fully expanded, its white blossoms are very noticeable. Blueberry-like shadbush fruits mature by midsummer, and are eaten by many creatures. A minimum of twenty-two birds (including Baltimore orioles, crows and hermit thrushes) and eleven species of mammals (including beavers, red foxes and eastern chipmunks) eat the fruits or browse the twigs and foliage of shadbush. Rumor has it that shadbush pies and muffins are delectable.