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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake
Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus var. albus, Symphoricarpos racemosa
USDA Symbol: syal
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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 berries which eventually turn 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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Amber Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
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
, YT Native Distribution:
Que. to AK, scattered southward to MA, WV, WI, n.e. IA, CO & CA Native Habitat:
Wooded hillsides; rocky, open slopes USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N)
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)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
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
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
February 10, 2009
I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go na...
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From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2010-04-25
Research By: TWC Staff