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Common Names

Shadbush/Serviceberry/Juneberry Flowering

5-13-16 shadbush 028Botanists rely on the use of scientific names for plants in part because a given plant may have more than one common name, depending on what part of the country you find it in.  Using a plant’s genus and species eliminates any confusion or misidentification.  Shadbush is a perfect example of this.  There are many species of Amelanchier, but one that is common in the Northeast,  Amelanchier canadensis, has a minimum of eleven common names:  Canadian Serviceberry, Chuckleberry, Currant-tree, Juneberry, Shadblow Serviceberry, Shadblow, Shadbush, Eastern Shadbush, Shadbush Serviceberry, Sugarplum and Thicket Serviceberry.  Because it flowers around the same time as shad return to their spawning grounds, I lean towards the use of a common name that incorporates this saltwater-living, fresh water-spawning fish.

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