10 April 2008


I've havered on before about the glories of the shadblow (Amelanchier arborea), a small woodland dweller that is frequently overlooked in the pursuit of ever-showier flowering trees.

The shadblow is not the least bit showy. Compared even to the subdued glory of the native dogwood, it is a modest thing. If the Kwanzan cherry or pink magnolia are your idea of the perfect spring-flowering tree, the shadblow will not do at all.

This is not to slight the Kwanzan cherries, pink magnolias, and the people who like them. I like the cherries and magnolias too (and will remain noncommittal about most of the people).

The cherries and magnolias succeed on the 'wow' factor. Judged by that standard, the shadblow can't compete. It is not a 'wow' tree.

It does, however, succeed on its own terms, which are more of the 'ooh' sort. The blossoms are flawlessly white, with slim petals that open out into stars which cluster along the branches. In its own woodlands, where it blooms before the dogwood, and before the larger trees have leafed out, where 'ooh' does not compete with 'wow,' it is entirely perfect.


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