Since this is June it seems appropriate that we would look at another interesting berry, appropriately name Juneberry.
It should be no surprise that since the fruit appears on the multi-stemmed trees or shrubs in late May and early June these berries were named Juneberries. Both Native Americans and early settlers in North America enjoyed Juneberries where the trees grew and flourished.
They grow primarily in the Northeastern United States adjacent to Southeastern Canada. It is interesting that at least one species of Juneberry is native to every state in the U.S. except Hawaii; and it is also found in every Canadian province and territory. There are only two species found elsewhere, in Asia and Europe. Several cultivars of this fruit do well in the heat and humidity of Georgia so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for Juneberries in our area.
Juneberries can grow to a height of 18-to-25 feet but grow better when planted on slightly sloping sites, especially northeast slopes. The berries are small, usually a quarter-to-half inch in diameter, and are sweet-tasting. They resemble a blueberry in appearance but not necessarily in flavor. When ripe, the Juneberry turns to red, purple, black, or creamy white, depending on the cultivar and species. The seeds are larger and more noticeable than the seeds of blueberries but are softer.
The name Juneberry originated from the Cree Indian name, Saskatoon; in fact, the town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) is named after it; but it is also known as shadbush, shadwood, serviceberry, wild pear, sugarplum or wild-plum.
Juneberries are ideal for jams, syrups, juices, pies, rolls, and sweetbreads, and they can also be dried. Again, searching the web you can find various recipes (pies, cobblers, and more) that call for Juneberries.
There are several other species of the Juneberry that are cultivated for use in ornamental landscape design. I hope you’ll be able to find some Juneberries and enjoy them in June.