White Berries Brighten winter
Common Name: snowberry
Botanical Name: Symphoricarpos albus
Form: round, bushy
Plant Type: deciduous shrub
Mature Size: 3-6’ tall and wide
Origin: North America
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 7
Foliage: thin, dull green up to 2” long, oblong
Flowers: clusters of tiny pale pink bells appear June, July in the leaf axils
Fruit: clusters of pure white ½” round berries
Roots: produces suckers
Exposure: part sun to full sun
Soil: prefers medium moist with good drainage, tolerant to most soils including poor ones
Uses: hedge, winter interest, woodland, mixed border, hedge, slopes and banks
Propagation: seeds, cuttings, suckers
Pruning: after flowering
Problems: not prone to pests or diseases occasionally powdery mildew, fruit rot, anthracnose
This North American native grows along forested slopes, in rocky soils, and everything inbetween. It is very tolerant and does adapt to all kinds of soils including wet, clay and poor ones. This versatility is evident as its range stretches from British Columbia to Nova Scotia and across America from Oregon to Virginia.
Snowberries claim to fame are its pure white berries. They positively stand out among woodland greenery and linger on naked stems throughout the fall and winter. Although the berries are poisonous to humans, they are valuable winter food for grouse, quail and pheasants.
Their leaves are a matte dull green and only a couple of inches long at best. Their flowers are so small, they often go unnoticed. They flower in June and July with tiny pinkish white bells that grow in clusters at the base (axils) of the leaves.
Snowberries, like many successful indigenous plants, produce suckers from their roots. They form small colonies, which stabilize slopes and rocky, dry soils. Because of the suckering, they can be quite invasive therefore they are not good candidate for small gardens where space is a premium. With that said, it is perfect for native gardens, wildlife gardens and woodlands.