What’s a Serviceberry and Can I Eat It?

Right now if you look around Missouri, because spring took its time in getting here this year, you might see a tree-like shrub with delicate flowers like this one, which in June bears highly desirable edible berries resembling and tasting kinda-like blueberries. This is a serviceberry blossom (aka “sarvisberry”) on its branch. The serviceberry tree/shrub is a member of the rose family, native in most U.S. temperate climates. Birds like the berries as much as people do. The photo of the berries is from Mother Earth News. Now why is it called a “serviceberry”? Wikipedia has the folksy answer:

“[t]heir flowers heralded the roads in the
Appalachian mountains becoming passable, which meant that the
circuit-riding preachers would be coming soon and church services would
resume; also, that the ground was thawed enough to dig graves, and
funeral services could be had for those who died over the winter.”