In addition to food, parts of the serviceberry fruits and/or shrubs have been used by indigenous peoples as an ear medicine, eye medicine, cathartic, gastronomical aid, laxative, cold remedy, cough medicine, diaphoretic, flu medicine, fever reducer, pulmonary aid, toothache remedy, tonic, contraceptive, pediatric aid, gynecological aid, venereal aid, antidiarrheal, anthelmintic (treatment against worms), blood medicine, disinfectant, and as an emetic. Young serviceberry stems, branches, and wood have been used in basketry, furniture making, rope making, arrow and harpoon making, tool making, and in the construction of popgun pistons. The Blackfoot used the berries in a harvest game.
Serviceberry shrubs look similar to small trees growing between 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) tall. The branches are brown and without thorns, though young branches exhibit hairiness. The broad elliptic 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) long leaves alternate and have toothed edges. The whites or pink flowers bloom from late April to May in elongated groups of 3 to 20. Each flower has 5 petals that are about 6 to 8 mm (1/4 to 5/16 in) long. Serviceberry fruits are fleshy and round with a diameter of 8 to 11 mm (5/16 -7/16 in). The ripe dark purple, sweet, and juicy berries are ready to be picked sometime in June or August.