Amelanchier x grandiflora Autumn Brilliance®

April Brilliance

To celebrate the arrival of April, we’re taking a deep dive into a spring-blooming favorite, Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ – but don’t let the name fool you. This versatile multi-stemmed shrub (or tree form, if you so desire) is so much more than just a flowering, fruiting, bird-beloved ornamental specimen. As the offspring resulting from the cross of its North American native parents, Amelanchier laevis and A. arborea, ‘Autumn Brilliance’ apple serviceberry seems to inherit the best of both worlds.

‘Autumn Brilliance’ apple serviceberry erupts in clusters of white, five-petaled flowers on semi-drooping racemes that first appear as downy floral buds. The flowers typically emerge before or alongside the first foliar buds, making it seem as though the entire tree is covered in a blanket of white, cottony clusters from afar. Its natural multi-stemmed form makes it a wonderful specimen for the understory of the woodland garden, or as an unconventional sidewalk or foundation planting. At a mature height and width of between 15-25’, it’s just large enough to create a bit of shade, and can itself tolerate partial shade conditions. The branchy, multi-trunk natural form of this selection make it a wonderful place of solace and shelter for small birds and mammals who will find it particularly appealing in the late spring to early summer months when the large shrub (or small tree) is covered in tiny, delectable fruits. But we’ll get back to those in just a minute.

Why, exactly, is this shrub called ‘Autumn Brilliance’ if it flowers and fruits all within the spring season? We’re glad you asked.

In autumn, after the first two show numbers have been performed by our muse, an explosion of reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and bronzy greens cover the foliage of the entire plant. A rainbow of color all on one individual specimen. Even a single leaf might display a painterly mix of colors, reds spilling into yellows, tinges of purples and greens marbling together, and chartreuse venation contrasting deeply against the darker plums and scarlets of the interveinal regions. Coincidentally, these foliar shades of purple and red are mirrored from the similarly hued fruits that give this shrub its common name.

The fruits, which slightly resemble tiny apples in appearance (although personally, I think they look more like miniature pomegranates) are the namesake of the humble apple serviceberry. Each of its parents produce similarly tasty fruits, dubbed juneberries or Saskatoon berries. As implied, it’s often late May to June that the fruits, which are actually pomes, first appear. Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ takes the fruiting abilities of its parents and pushes them to their limits – from May to as late as August, the abundant, showy fruits take the place of the fragrant spring blooms. Changing from green, to red, to finally a dark purple, the ripe pomes are a favorite of various native bird species and you may often find your specimen picked clean before you even get a chance to harvest any of the sweet, edible fruits. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron, and copper (just to name a few) and resembling blueberries in taste and size, it’s no wonder they’re treasured by hungry winged foragers. Within the Amelanchier genus, the fruits have a history of cultural use amongst Native Americans, with the Cree people definitively calling the pomes “misâskwatômina” – literally, “the fruit of the tree of many branches”. Amelanchier fruits were often used to sweeten up pemmican, a fat-and-protein heavy meal made of whatever game meat was available at the time, dried fruits, and tallow. Realistically, Juneberries, serviceberries, Saskatoon berries, whatever you want to call them, can be used in any dish that you might use blueberries in. We recommend you get creative! In order to save some of the berries for yourself, use small, mesh sachet bags, placing them carefully around developing fruit to prevent greedy birds from stealing your stash (much like one might do with blueberries). You’ll want to wait to pick the fruits until they’ve reached their fullest potential: when they transition from bright, apple red to a deep, sultry purple, you’ll know the time has come. We’re big fans of desserts, (and really just food in general) around these parts – so, in order to send you off into serviceberry heaven this week, here are some fun (and delicious!!!) recipes for you to try in approximately two months when the apple serviceberries are fully apple-serviceberrying.

Easy Saskatoon Berry Crisp

Saskatoon Ice Cream with Homemade Saskatoon Jelly

Saskatoon Berry Pie

Maple Saskatoon Berry Barbecue Sauce

Juneberry Jam

Make sure to add some ‘Autumn Brilliance’ apple serviceberries to your next order to spread the wealth of this wonderful plant!

TREE-FORM #10’s – (80) available

MULTI-STEM #10’s – (43) available

Future Crops for Both Expected Ready for Sale by August 2024

Downy serviceberry | The Morton Arboretum

Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ | College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences | Clemson University, South Carolina

amegrab.pdf (

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry | Chicago Botanic Garden

Amelanchier × grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance' - Plant Finder (

Amelanchier arborea (Alabama Serviceberry, Downy Serviceberry, Juneberries, Serviceberry, Service-tree, Shadblow, Shadbush) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox (

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny Serviceberry, Coastal Plain Serviceberry, June Berry, Smooth-leaved serviceberry, Smooth Shadbush) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox (

Amelanchier laevis Allegheny Shadberry, Allegheny serviceberry, Smooth Serviceberry PFAF Plant Database

How to Grow and Care for Saskatoon Serviceberry (

Saskatoon Ice Cream, Rich & Creamy | Kitchen Frau

Easy Saskatoon Berry Crisp (Easy To Make!)- Around The Nook

Tangy & Spicy Saskatoon Berries Barbecue sauce (

Saskatoon Berry Pie - A Pretty Life In The Suburbs

How to Make Juneberry Jam (Serviceberry Jam) - Marisa Moore Nutrition

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Amelanchier x grandiflora Autumn Brilliance®