Symphoricarpos albus (L.) S.F. Blake
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)
USDA Symbol: SYAL
A sparsely branched shrub 2-5 ft. tall, gradually forming a thicket 4-6 ft. wide. The slender, wiry twigs bear small, opposite leaves and inconspicuous flower clusters followed by large, snow white berry-like fruit which eventually turns brown. This hollow-stemmed shrub has tiny, pinkish-white, bell-shaped flowers in small terminal or axillary clusters.
This plant was once popular in old-fashioned dooryard gardens; variety laevigatus of this shrub is also cultivated. Two other species are often encountered: Coralberry (S. orbiculatus), with sessile, axillary, purplish-green flowers and showy clusters of pink berries; and Wolfberry (S. occidentalis) a dry prairie shrub with pale pink flowers, leathery, oval leaves, and greenish-white fruit.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AK , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , IA , ID , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , TN , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Que. to AK, scattered southward to MA, WV, WI, n.e. IA, CO & CA
Native Habitat: Wooded hillsides; rocky, open slopes
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Infertile sands and gravels.
Conditions Comments: Anthracnose, rusts, powdery mildews and berry rot can be frequent problems. Var. albus is the easterly variety; var. laevigatus is a more erect, western plant.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Songbirds, gamebirds, small mammals and browsers use this plant for food, cover, and nesting sites.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Berries. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea. Toxic Principle: Calcium oxalate and possibly saponic glycoside. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Vashti sphinx |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Snowberry starts easily from suckers or offshoots; cuttings may also work well. Seeds need to be treated.
Seed Collection: Fruits can be collected anytime druing the fall and winter by stripping or flailing onto drop cloths. Seeds can be extracted by macerating the fruits in water.
Seed Treatment: Seeds sown in fall require warm stratification (80 degrees for 90-120 days). Spring sown seeds need an additional cold stratification (41 degrees for 4-6 months).
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Symphoricarpos albus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Symphoricarpos albus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Symphoricarpos albus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-28
Research By: TWC Staff