Saskatoon berries

Alan H. Hartley ahartley at
Sun Aug 27 01:44:56 UTC 2006

Koontz wrote:

> Amelanchier spp. has a wide variety of popular names, so it can be very
> difficult to look up.  June berry, service berry, sarvis berry, and
> shadblow come to mind.

Also shad-bush, -blossom, -tree, Indian pear, wild pear, sugar plum, 
poire, May bush, May cherry, mespilus (former genus-name). These from 
OED and Mathews Dict. of Americanisms. Amelanchier has a lot of spp., so 
I don't know what the Linnaean referents of these common names are.

If you're not familiar with the USDA Plants Database, check it out:
Pictures, range-maps, taxonomy, etc. Search by Linnaean or common name.

Saskatoon < Cree misaaskwatoomin 'saskatoon berry' < misaaskwat 
'saskatoon bush', lit. 'that which is solid wood' (Random House Dict., 
ed. 2, presumably Ives Goddard). This form is [at least] Plains Cree. 
I'm not sure about mis- as 'solid'; it might be 'big', but neither makes 
sense for June berry. (But the Ojibway name means lit. 'heavy wood'.)


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