The fruit of several species are excellent to eat raw, tasting somewhat like a blueberry, strongly accented by the almond-like flavour of the seeds. Fruit is harvested locally for pies and jams. The saskatoon berry is harvested commercially. The Native American food pemmican was flavored by shadbush fruits in combination with fat and dried meats, and the stems were made into arrow shafts.
The wood is brown, hard, close-grained, and heavy. The heartwood is reddish-brown, and the sapwood is lighter in color. It can be used for tool handles and fishing rods.
Propagation is by seed, divisions and grafting. Serviceberries graft so readily that grafts with other genera, such as Crataegus and Sorbus, are often successful.
Garden history
Several species are very popular ornamental shrubs, grown for their flowers, bark, and fall color. All need similar conditions to grow well, requiring good drainage, air circulation (to discourage leaf diseases), watering during drought and acceptable soil.
Ann Leighton points out that in American gardens, where so many Amelanchier were available, "the botanical name came too late to help early settlers sort out this shrub from our native hawthorns (some under Mespilus, some under Crataegus), medlars, service trees and various berries." George Washington planted specimens on the grounds of Mount Vernon.