Herb: Cusick's Serviceberry

Latin name: Amelanchier alnifolia cusickii

Synonyms: Amelanchier cusickii

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Cusick's Serviceberry:

An infusion of the inner bark is used as a treatment for snow-blindness.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Open woods, canyons and hillsides from near sea-level to the sub-alpine zone, mainly in the Rockies.

Edible parts of Cusick's Serviceberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Ripening in mid summer, the fruit is soft and juicy with a few small seeds in the centre, it has a very nice sweet flavour with a hint of apple in the taste. The fruit can also be dried and used as raisins or made into pemmican. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter, it is rich in iron and copper. The leaves are a tea substitute.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - it is best harvested "green", when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring - takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of Cusick's Serviceberry:

Open woods, canyons and hillsides from near sea-level to the sub-alpine zone, mainly in the Rockies.

Known hazards of Amelanchier alnifolia cusickii:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.