Signs Of Spring: The Old Sarvis Blooms

It has bounced back cold, with this morning’s temperature 37 and the forecast high today 50. The forecast low tonight is 25, which will probably set things back a bit.

Yesterday, our old sarvis bloomed. It was a fairly large tree, but it was damaged when the EMC cut a power line up the mountain. Still, it puts out a fair number of blooms on the part of the tree that wasn’t damaged. Our younger sarvis is showing some white at the tips, but hasn’t bloomed yet. In fact, the old sarvis is the only one I’ve seen in bloom in the neighborhood.

Here’s a photo that shows what the tree looks like in bloom, from a website that celebrates Appalachia:

Those awful, invasive Bradford Pears bloom first, and they are in full bloom in our neighborhood. The sarvis is a native, and its numbers seem to be declining in our range. The name is thought to come from its use for altar decorations at Easter, if the dogwoods haven’t bloomed yet. Up north, it is Serviceberry or Juneberry. The scientific name is Amelanchier arborea, and it is also known as Downy Serviceberry or Shadbush (I suppose that’s because they bloom when the shad are running).

The trunk of a young tree looks a lot like a young maple tree, but it has an elliptical leaf. Here’s Kirkman’s description of the leaf from Native Trees of the Southeast. “… deciduous, simple, alternate; blades widest at or above the middle, 2-3-1/2 in. long, to 1-1/2 in. wide; tips abruptly tapered; bases heart-shaped; margins finely serrate; lower surfaces pubescent; autumn foliage orange-red to yellow.”

As the tree ages, the bark becomes furrowed. There are some rather large ones in our area, I’d say up to 60 feet. (Kirkman says 40 feet.)

Here’s a description from the North Carolina Extension’s s “Gardeners Toolbox:”

They make a nice landscape planting for our area and they should be conserved.

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