PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Presidential Tree

Red
White
Gray
AMELANCHIER

I don’t question much of what I read on Wikipedia.  Googling the tree Amelanchier, which we had just planted on Randall’s Island yielded an interesting sentence.

“George Washington planted speciments of Amelanchier on the grounds of his estate.”
Wikipedia

That peaked my interested. A couple of clicks later:

“George Washington, who was fond of the serviceberry, planted it on the grounds of his Mount Vernon estate.”  http://arboretum.washcoll.edu/_amelanchier_laevis.html

That short sentence provided a way in.  Mt. Vernon was my next click.
Next click on GARDENS
A surprise click:  THE GENERAL AND MRS. WASHINGTON’S WISH LIST
Go deeper:  SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR GIFTS

“$10,100 to eradicate exotic invasive plants from the forest edge. Just beyond the Bowling Green gate is a beautiful 12-acre lawn surrounded by forest. Numerous invasive vines have overtaken the natural tree line. The area is in need of substantial removal of vines and invasive exotics, as well as planting of new understory trees, including the flowering trees that Washington loved: dogwoods, redbuds, serviceberries, and sweet bay magnolias. Professional arboricultural support is required.”

Without going to that old-fashioned institution the library, I had to be satisfied with this brief explanation of Washington’s affinity for Amelanchier.

For awhile, I was diverted from my initial inquiry, but after a small triumph, I went back to Amelanchier and its common names: Amelanchier or Serviceberry or Juneberry or Shadbush.

Servicebery:  early settlers used the early blooming flowers of Amelanchier for burial services, hence the name.

Shadbush:  Amelanchier comes into bloom at the same time as shad swim upstream to spawn.

Given the current  presidential chocies, I am happy to be in the company of George Washington.



2 comments

  1. thanks, phyllis! the serviceberry is such a reliable street tree i always guessed that its name was related to its serviceable qualities — doing its brave duty on urban streets –love, paula

  2. Anonymous

    thanks, phyllis! the serviceberry is such a reliable street tree i always guessed that its name was related to its serviceable qualities — doing its brave duty on urban streets —

    love, paula

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