Shrub 30 cm - 2 m tall Leaves: medium to dark green above, paler beneath, 2 - 6 cm long, egg-shaped to oblong, elliptic to widest above middle with a pointed to rounded or blunt tip and a rounded base, toothed, hairless, with veins interconnecting near the margin. At flowering, the leaves are one-quarter to one-half grown and densely hairy beneath. Flowers: borne on an upright, short, dense inflorescence (raceme) with individual stalks 7 - 15 mm long. Each flower is white with a recurved five-lobed calyx and narrow oblong petals 5 - 10 mm long and 2 - 5 mm wide. Fruit: berry-like (pome), clustered, bluish black, spherical, covered with a whitish waxy coating (glaucous), containing ten seeds. Form: bushy, many-stemmed, colony-forming.
Similar species: Amelanchier sanguinea, Amelanchier humilis, and Amelanchier spicata are the three Amelanchier species in the Chicago Region under 3 m tall at maturity. Amelanchier sanguinea does not form colonies, has leaves that are half expanded at flowering, leaf veins that do not interconnect near the margin, and flowers borne in loose drooping racemes. Amelanchier humilis has leaves that are expanding or fully expanded at flowering time, and the leaf veins do not interconnect near the margin.
Flowering: late April to early May
Habitat and ecology: Throughout its range, this species grows in dry woods, old fields, sandy soils, or along rocky banks.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Amelanchier is the old French name of a species in this genus. Spicata means "in spikes."