[Snowberries: The Genus Symphoricarpos East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Common Snowberry, Snowberry

Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus

Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis

Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis) - Flower cluster of Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis)

Common snowberry in bloom at Trout Farm Campground, Malheur National Forest..........July 17, 2010.

Characteristics:

Common snowberry is an attractive shrub with erect, branched stems from 1-2 meters high. The leaves are found on the stems. They are elliptic or elliptic-ovate in shape and are opposite on the stems. The blades range from 1.5-5 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide with entire margins or occasionally with a a number of coarse teeth or irregular and shallow lobes.

The flowers are in short, dense, few-flowered racemes found at the tips of the stems and occasionally in the upper leaf axils. The corolla is a short and bell-shaped and measures from 5-7 mm long and about equally wide. The berries are white in color and are poisonous for human consumption. Creeping snowberry is similar in appearance but is a trailing shrub with flowers 3-5 mm long.

Common snowberry is commonly utilized as an ornamental shrub and the berries are attractive when ripe in the fall and winter. Birds utilize the berries for food as the berries remain attached to the twigs for much of the winter. The leaves may be rubbed in wet hands to produce a soapy lather.


Habitat:

Common snowberry is a plant of open woods and slopes from low to medium elevation in the mountains.


Range:

Common snowberry may be found from the panhandle of Alaska south to California and eastward to Quebec, central Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia.


Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis)

The white, waxy fruits of Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis)

A close-up image of the white, waxy fruits of common snowberry as seen along the trail along the Little Spokane River west of the Painted Rocks, Little Spokane River Natural Areat..........November 8, 2018. Variety albus generally has1-5 flowers (or fruits) and is usually less than a meter high. Variety laevigatus usually has 3-20 flowers (and fruits) and is taller than a meter..

Inflorescence of Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis) - Inflorescence of Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis)

Common snowberry as seen blooming in open forest along the Stubblefield Trail, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge......July 4, 2018.

Common Snowberry, Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos albus ssp. laevigatus, Symphoricarpos rivularis)

The photo above shows a close-up of the terminal inflorescence and paired leaves of common snowberry as seen at SnowKing SnoPark on the southern flanks of Mt. Adams..........July 1, 2005. Note the short, bell-shaped corolla tube of the flowers.

Paul Slichter