The serviceberry trees in our woods are starting to bloom. This is probably a Common or Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), but there are several different species of serviceberry and they hybridize easily, so I'm not certain.
General characteristics: "Downy serviceberry is a deciduous, early-flowering, large shrub or small tree which typically grows 15-25' tall in cultivation but can reach 40' in the wild. A Missouri native plant [and native to most of eastern and central North America (range map)] that occurs most often in open rocky woods, wooded slopes, and bluffs. Features 5-petaled, showy, slightly fragrant, white flowers in drooping clusters which appear before the leaves emerge in early spring. The finely-toothed, obovate leaves exhibit good fall color. Flowers give way to small, round green berries which turn red and finally mature to a dark purplish-black in early summer. Edible berries resemble blueberries in size and color and are often used in jams, jellies and pies. (Source: Kemper Center for Home Garden of the Missouri Botanical Garden)
Other common names include: Shadblow, Juneberry, Shadbush, Sarvis-tree.
The berry of a serviceberry looks much likes a rose hip, which makes sense since it a member of family Rosaceae. The berry is edible, but there is debate about its quality. Some sources say it just barely palatable and is best left for the birds. Other sources claim a serviceberry fruit has a delicious, blueberry-like taste. I've never sampled one because the birds usually beat me too them, and when they're not covered with beautiful white flowers, the small serviceberry trees are difficult to re-locate in the woods.
Sources and additional links:
Vanderbilt (photos only)
Trees of Wisconsin
Oklahoma Extension Service
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