A shrub to about 10 ft high, more rarely a small tree; young growths woolly at first, soon glabrous. Leaves oblong, roundish oval or obovate, 1 to 2 in. long, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. wide, obtuse and often mucronate at the apex, rounded to slightly cordate at the base, rather coarsely toothed, hairy and pure white beneath when young, later glabrous. Racemes carrying up to eight rather large white flowers, often 11⁄2 in. wide, with narrowly oblanceolate petals. Inflorescence branches woolly at first, as is the calyx-tube, becoming glabrous. Sepals triangular. Styles five, free to the base, short, their tips about level with the rim of the calyx-tube. Fruits at first red, then black with a purplish bloom, about the size of a black currant, edible but not very palatable. Bot Mag., t. 2430.
Native of the mountains of southern and central Europe, north-west Africa, Asia Minor, the Lebanon, the Crimea and the Caucasus; of unrecorded introduction, but in cultivation in Britain by early in the 18th century. It is a pretty shrub, flowering in late April or early May, with flowers among the largest in the genus.
This amelanchier has in recent times been treated by many botanists under the name A. ovalis Med. But it was first described by Lamarck in 1788 as Crataegus rotundifolia and the epithet chosen by him must be used.
subsp. integrifolia (Boiss. & Hohen.) Browicz A. integrifolia Boiss. – Leaves entire or almost so. Inflorescence with up to five flowers only. Native of Asiatic Turkey, the Caucasus and northern Iraq.
A. cretica (Willd.) DC. Pyrus cretica Willd.; A. ovalis var. cretica (Willd.) Fiori – A small shrub with more rounded leaves toothed mostly only in the upper part, fewer-flowered, more woolly inflorescences and shorter petals. Although reported from the mainland of southern Greece and Sicily, it is probably confined in its typical state to western Crete. In var. chelmea Halacsy the leaves are clad beneath with a persistent white indumentum. This variety occurs on the mainland of southern Greece, in Crete, and on one of the islands of the northern Sporades. A. cretica is of uncertain taxonomic position. It, and especially the var. chelmea, shows some affinity with A. parviflora (K. Browicz, Arb. Kornickie No. 16 (1971), pp. 16-22).
A. parviflora Boiss. – A shrub to about 7 ft high with roundish or obovate entire leaves, which are persistently tomentose beneath, as is the inflorescence. Flowers about 1⁄2 in. wide. Native of Asiatic Turkey (Browicz, op. cit., pp. 13-16, and Fl. Turkey, Vol. 4 (1972), pp. 170-71).