Downy serviceberry is a tall shrub or small tree with a narrow, rounded crown.
Leaves are alternate, simple, oval, 2–5 inches long; finely toothed with a pointy tip, medium green; in autumn, turning gold and orange, often with reds and greens, too.
Bark is light gray and smooth when young; dark gray with shallow grooves and long ridges with age.
Flowers March–May, often before the leaves emerge; silky-hairy; slightly fragrant; petals 5, bright white, strap-shaped, wavy, with a space between them (petals not crowded together); clusters drooping or erect.
Fruits June–July; round, reddish-purple berries, 1/3 to 1/2 inch in diameter, tasteless or sweet, borne on long stalks; seeds small and numerous.
Similar plants: Low serviceberry or low shadbush (A. humilis) also occurs in Missouri; it grows in clumps and its leaves have coarse teeth and blunt tips. At least 4 other Amelanchier species have been introduced for landscaping purposes. 'Autumn Brilliance' is a popular hybrid between downy serviceberry and A. grandiflora; it has a multistemmed, shrubby growth habit.