In Spring around here, everyone looks for that first peek of white in the woods. Newbies to the area always think it is the dogwood they see, but they are wrong.
The first white is the sarvisberry. Their fluffy white tufts of flowers on the bare limbs signal the beginning of spring.
The berries grow best in wet, shaded condition at the edge of woods or in open forest areas.
After a rough winter, or even a fairly mild one, we look with great eagerness for that first white showing in the woods. You look and look and then, one morning
you see it. A bare showing of white, maybe just a sliver. You blink and look again, and yep. It’s there. You know that spring is on its way.
The next day you pass the woods on your way to town, and there are clouds scattered in the woods.
The sarvisberry has arrived.
In the south we call them sarvisberry. I mean southern Missouri for sure. I never knew any other name for them until I looked them up and found they not only had other names,shadlow, shadbush, downy serviceberry, wild pear and Juneberry, but they could also be found at your local plant nursery. I had always seen them in the woods.
The berries come on after the blooms are gone and the green leaves are popping out. As the leaves grow, so do the berries.
They turn a deep red than purple as they ripen. If you want them, you need to be quick as the birds love them, too. And they have better access. The berries taste like blueberries and look a little like cranberries. Thay have an almost dry, grainy texture and a mild sweet flavor, which makes them perfect to put in a pie, eat them raw, makes juice of them and then jelly or jam.
The bushes grow from four feet for the uncommon running serviceberry to a maximum of 60 feet for the downy serviceberry.
The white clouds have appeared in the woods across from my house. Spring has sprung, and the dogwood will soon be seen.