Shadbush is a multi-stemmed, vase-shaped shrub, the smallest of the many serviceberry species, which grows to be 10 to 20 feet high and five to 10 feet wide. Shadbush is also called thicket shadbush, junebush and eastern serviceberry. You will find shadbush in bogs and swamps. It is a harbinger of spring: Its bloom in March or April indicates that the shad are running, which in Newton means that alewife can be seen climbing fish ladders along the Charles River.
The pure white flowers of the shadbush provide nectar for butterflies. Shadbush produces an edible purple berry-like pome in June or July. These are eaten by chipmunks, squirrels and many birds including the northern mockingbird, eastern phoebe, gray catbird, downy woodpecker, red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, eastern bluebird and rose-breasted grosbeak. In the fall, the shrub’s golden red leaf color adds great beauty to the landscape.