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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Amelanchier lamarckii

Trees for small gardens
Wheres space is restricted it makes sense to choose a tree with as many attributes as possible. Expect them to pay double or triple rent for their space and offer, perhaps, spring blossom, colourful fruits and autumn colour or beautiful foliage and attractive bark. Trees like birches make very suitable contenders, despite their height, because they cast comparatively little shade.
Amelanchier lamarckii ( Snowy mespilus )
A genus of Spring-flowering trees and shrubs grown for their abundance of flowers, and Autumnal leaf colouring. Indeed it is a tree for all seasons, suited to being made a feature plant in any garden.

Form: A deciduous, spreading shrub.
Fully Hardy
20ft (6m)
12ft (4m)

Foliage: Having bronze, young leaves, which mature to dark-green, and turns brilliant red and orange during Autumn.
From mid- to late Spring, as the leaves unfurl, producing abundant sprays of white, star-shaped blooms.

Physical Characteristics

A decidious shrub growing to 6m by 4m . It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. We rate it 5 out of 5 for usefulness.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Habitats and Possible Locations

Woodland, Secondary, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade.

Cultivar 'Ballerina': Woodland, Secondary, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade.

Edible Uses


Edible fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent with a flavour of apples, they can also be dried for later use. This is one of the nicest fruits in the genus, they can be eaten and enjoyed in quantity. The fruit is rich in iron and copper. It is up to 10mm in diameter.

Delicate white spring blossom contrasts prettily with silky, copper-tinged young leaves and is followed by black fruits.

The leaves turn orange-red in autumn. To encourage a tree-like shape, buy a standard-trained plant or select one or more main stems and prune out others. Plant in well-drained, lime-free soil.


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