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Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.

Western Snowberry, Wolfberry

Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A small shrub, to 4 ft. tall, with numerous erect branches arching at the top. Gray-green leaves are opposite and oval shaped with coarse, round teeth. Clusters of non-showy, pink flowers are followed by greenish-white berries, soon discoloring to brown or black. Forms extensive colonies.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Green, Purple

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: CO , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , ON , SK
Native Distribution: Man. to s.e. B.C., s. to MI, n. NM & n. WA
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky hillsides; sand plains; prairies; open woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, infertile gravels to deep, well-drained, prairie loams.
Conditions Comments: Short-lived but vigorous suckering habit can maintain colonies. Used for erosion control.


Use 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
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Symphoricarpos occidentalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Symphoricarpos occidentalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Symphoricarpos occidentalis


Record Modified: 2023-01-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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