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Amelanchier alnifolia is a deciduous shrub found in areas such as Western and Central N. America - Saskatchewan and south to Colorado and Idaho. A member of the Rosaceae family, Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.)Nutt. ex M.Roem is also known by its common name of Saskatoon. The shrub can grow to a height of 4 meters and up to 3 meters wide. The preferred habitat of Thickets, woodland edges and banks of streams in moist well-drained soils[99, 200]. Small bushy forms grow on fairly dry hillsides., with LMH soil and SN moisture levels. .
Saskatoon is a zone 2 hardy plant that has medicinal uses - the medicinal usage rating of Saskatoon is 2Saskatoon was quite widely employed as a medicinal herb by the North American Indians, who used it to treat a wide range of minor complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. An infusion of the inner bark is used as a treatment for snow-blindness. A decoction of the fruit juice is mildly laxative. It has been used in the treatment of upset stomachs, to restore the appetite in children, it is also applied externally as ear and eye drops. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of colds. It has also been used as a treatment for too frequent menstruation. A decoction of the stems, combined with the stems of snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp) is diaphoretic. It has been used to induce sweating in the treatment of fevers, flu etc and also in the treatment of
chest pains and lung infections. A decoction of the plant, together with bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata) has been used as a contraceptive. Other recipes involving this plant have also been used as contraceptives including a decoction of the ashes of . The plant combined with the ashes of pine branches or buds. A strong decoction of the bark was taken immediately after childbirth to hasten the dropping of the placenta. It was said to help clean out and help heal the woman's insides and also to stop her menstrual periods after the birth, thus acting as a form of birth control.
Amelanchier alnifolia is 0 plant, whose flowers bloom typically in 5, and which is pollinated by Bees.
The plant has an edibility rating of 5Edible fruit - raw or cooked[3, 11, 46, 62, 101]. The fruit ripens in mid summer (early July in southern Britain), it is soft and juicy with a few small seeds in the centre. A very nice sweet flavour that is enjoyed by almost everyone who tries it, there is a hint of apple in the taste[K]. About the size of a blackcurrant, the fruit is produced in small clusters and the best wild forms can be 15mm in diameter[200, 212]. The fruit can also be dried and used as raisins or made into pemmican[101, 183]. The fruit is rich in iron and copper. The leaves are a tea substitute[161, 257].
Cultivation tips: Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade[1, 200] but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. Plants are fairly lime tolerant, they also grow well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to about -20°c according to one report, whilst another suggests that this species is hardy to about -50°c. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. This species is particularly interesting because it is quite compact and produces an excellent quality quite large fruit[K]. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe[K]. A very variable species, ranging from a thicket-forming shrub to a small tree in the wild. It is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are several named varieties. A stoloniferous species, spreading by suckers to form a thicket. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.
. The plant should best be propagated by 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 20 centimeters or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed[78, 80]. 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.
Edible fruit - raw or cooked[3, 11, 46, 62, 101]. The fruit ripens in mid summer (early July in southern Britain), it is soft and juicy with a few small seeds in the centre. A very nice sweet flavour that is enjoyed by almost everyone who tries it, there is a hint of apple in the taste[K]. About the size of a blackcurrant, the fruit is produced in small clusters and the best wild forms can be 15mm in diameter[200, 212]. The fruit can also be dried and used as raisins or made into pemmican[101, 183]. The fruit is rich in iron and copper. The leaves are a tea substitute[161, 257].