Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Running Serviceberry - Amelanchier spicata   (Lamarck) K. Koch
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Members of Amelanchier with account distribution info or public map:
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Author(Lamarck) K. Koch
DistributionScattered over most of the Coastal Plain, and very widely scattered mainly in the southern parts of the Piedmont and Mountains. It appears to be absent over most or all of the central and northern Mountains and the northwestern Piedmont. NOTE: it is possible that montane records actually belong to A. arborea var. austromontana; see Distribution section of A. intermedia.

Despite it being mainly a Coastal Plain species in NC, and with records from the other provinces mainly near SC, this is surprisingly a Northern species. It ranges from Canada southward to southern SC and adjacent GA and northeastern AL. The BONAP map shows no records for either IN or TN.
AbundanceUncommon in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, and rare in the other two provinces and the northern Coastal Plain. Not as well known as A. obovalis, A. canadensis, A. laevis, and A. arborea and thus may be overlooked. Bruce Sorrie has not seen it in NC!
HabitatThis species is found primarily in dry, sandy or rocky upland woods and thickets. It is scarce in wetland habitats, and then mainly found in damp sandy places.
PhenologyAs with other Amelanchier species, blooms in early spring (March and April) and fruits in May and June.
IdentificationAs its name implies, it is a stoloniferous species, being a small and colonial deciduous shrub reaching only 3-4 feet tall, with many upright twigs. Thus, any serviceberry growing in rhizomatous colonies in dry/upland sites should be this species, as opposed to A. obovalis, a generally obligate wetland shrub. Its leaves are slightly wider (more rounded) than are those of A. obovalis. Also, Running Serviceberry has the summit of the ovary quite tomentose, as are the undersides of unfurling leaves; Coastal Serviceberry has the ovary summit essentially glabrous, as are the unfurling leaves below (though they can be rather hairy).
Taxonomic CommentsMany references, such as NatureServe Explorer, name the species as Amelanchier stolonifera. However, many earlier (i.e., RAB 1968) and later (e.g., Weakley 2018) references use A. spicata.

Other Common Name(s)Dwarf Serviceberry, Low Juneberry, Thicket Shadbush
State RankS2S3 [S3]
Global RankG5
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