Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Just about a year ago, I took a "walk on nature's wild side" and mentioned the serviceberry. It is in bloom again, and Tom said he wanted to write about it, so here is our guest commentator:

When I was a kid, my mother always said, "When you first see the shadbush bloom in the woods, the black flies aren't far behind." Kids mostly ignore what their parents say, but for some reason this adage stuck. In fact, I saw my first shad yesterday and called my mother to tell her. She said, "I know. I didn't want to call you." At first glance, shad looks like small apple blossoms; but it's too early in the spring. Shadbush, which is named because it blooms at the time when the shad come upstream to spawn, is also called serviceberry. When I called my mother last night I told her this. She didn't know. Serviceberry blooms at the time of year in northern New England when in the olden days people who had died during the winter were buried. Early May was the month when the burial service took place. Shad or serviceberry, it doesn't matter--here come the black flies!


  1. Hi Nan! The photo at the top of your blog is just beautiful. The scenery is perfect, and I just love the open windows with the daffodils in the bottles - especially the blue ones. I love it!!

  2. We don't call them Shadbush here in Illinois, probably because we don't have shad! But we do call them serviceberry. They bloom here at the end of March, just when the ground gets soft enough to dig a grave.

  3. Oh sigh... The black flies will be coming now, hu? Actually we don't seem to get as many, over in NYS. But I know they get them, in VT and MA. Eeeek! And I guess, around here, they're bad around fishing holes. :-)

    And thank you for the nice comment, on the little hand made truck, which my husband made for a friend.


  4. That's just wonderful folklore. Thank you. Your blog is always a great start to my day — just delurking to tell you so.

  5. Shad! I hadn't thought about the shad run for years. Decades. When I was a child we went down to Bourne, I think it was, to watch them. A pleasant memory. Thanks.


  6. Thank you Nan! Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings told me what a great tree a Serviceberry is supposed to be for OK last week, but I had no idea what it was like. Now I do thanks to you :-)

  7. That's so interesting. I had no real idea what a shad was (apart from 'waiter, bring me shad roe') let alone a shadberry/serviceberry How pretty it is. Maybe I'll plant one - they seem to be available here in England.
    Great photos.


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