Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Allegheny Serviceberry - Amelanchier laevis   Wiegand
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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AuthorWiegand
DistributionThroughout the mountains, and a few locations in the higher foothills of the Piedmont. Ranges east to Stokes, Alexander, and Rutherford counties; specimens farther east, such as from Orange, Davidson, and Bladen counties, certainly represent escapes or misidentifications.

This is a northern species, as would be expected by its “mountains only” range in NC. It ranges from eastern Canada south along the mountains to northern GA, northern AL, and away from the mountains to western TN.
AbundanceGenerally common in the mountains, more so at the higher elevations; however, as it has been confused or lumped with A. arborea in the past, abundance levels in comparison with A. arborea in the mountains are somewhat blurred. Rare or scarce at lower elevations, into the western Piedmont.
HabitatThis serviceberry favors rocky forests and high elevation dry or mesic forests, and also is found at shrub balds or bald margins. The very similar Downy Serviceberry (A. arborea) is the more numerous Amelanchier in the lower parts of the mountains.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Rosaceous Thickets
PhenologyFlowers in April and May, before leaves unfurl. Fruits in early summer – June and July.
IdentificationThis is a small deciduous tree, growing mostly to about 20-30 feet tall, much shorter than the closely related A. arborea. It also generally has several stems, as opposed to that species, which has a single trunk. Additional characters to separate it from A. arborea include hairless leaves, reddish or purplish tinge to new leaves, and a sweeter fruit; the latter species has quite tomentose leaves. Note that A. laevis is quite similar to A. canadensis and A. intermedia in growth form (and the latter two can occur in the mountains), but the first species has drooping inflorescences, petals at least 1/2-inch long, and grows in dry or rocky uplands, mostly at higher elevations; the latter two are wetland species with erect inflorescences and have petals less than 1/2-inch long.
Taxonomic CommentsThis taxon has been considered by some authorities (such as RAB 1968) as a variety of A. arborea – as A. arborea var. laevis. However, most authorities do give it species status.

Other Common Name(s)Smooth Serviceberry, Smooth Shadbush
State RankS3
Global RankG4G5Q
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