Several years ago the City of Olympia planted some trees along our street, and these were immediately attacked by the low-life vandals who walk through the neighborhood from time to time, heading from the downtown bars to the Section 8 housing located up the street from us. The new trees were barely a week in the ground when these idiots (don’t know who they were, but I know their kind, at least) deliberately broke many if not most of them in half. City crews came out and tried to fix them, but the vandals had done their work too well, and the tops of these trees eventually died. Sickening.
But, the trees themselves did not die, and they continue to grow. It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder what kind of trees these were until a couple of days ago when I happened to notice that there were two varieties. The ones growing on the north side of the street have sort-of spiky light green leaves and produce copious quantities of red-orangish berries. The ones growing on the south side have more rounded but dark green leaves and produce copious quantities of dark red berries. This piqued my curiosity. Neither produce tasty berries — they aren’t too bitter, but they are astringent, and the birds don’t seem interesting in eating them. So what are they?
A query via email produced an interesting reply. The responder wasn’t sure of the exact species, without a photo at least, but suggested they were either Serviceberries or Mountain Ash. A quick look at Wikipedia showed that these were no way Mountain Ash (or Rowan) — the leaves are completely different, and so are the berries. But Wikipedia makes it pretty certain these are some species of Serviceberry, or Amelanchier. But which two species? At least some of these species are edible, but neither of the two types of tree on our street are producing fruit that I would call edible.
Well, I took a photo of the fruit and some leaves from both species. Here:
What species of Serviceberry are these?
Any ideas? I’m sending a link to this post to the City Arborist, and if I get a response, I will update accordingly.