[The Snowberries of the Columbia River Gorge]

Creeping Snowberry, Spreading Snowberry, Trailing Snowberry

Symphoricarpos hesperius

Synonyms: Symphoricarpos hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis ssp. hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis var. hesperius

White berries and leaves of Creeping Snowberry, Trailing Snowberry, Spreading Snowberry: Symphoricarpos mollis (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis ssp. hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis var. hesperius)

The photo above shows the white, waxy berries of creeping snowberry as seen on the southern slopes of Mt. Adams..................August 2005.

Close-up of the flowers and ventral surfaces of the leaves of Creeping Snowberry, Trailing Snowberry, Spreading Snowberry: Symphoricarpos mollis (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis ssp. hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis var. hesperius)The photo at right shows teh terminal inflorescence and opposite leaves of creeping snowberry as seen on the southern flanks of Mt. Adams..............July 2005. Note the numerous minute hairs covering the ventral leaf surfaes as well as the axillary flowers found beneath the outermost pairs of leaves of this species.
Characteristics:

Creeping snowberry is a fairly attractive, low growing and trailing shrub with stems from 1-3 meters long. The stems rise less than 0.5 meters above the ground and they frequently root at the nodes. The paired leaves are found on the stems and are lightly haired to glabrous above while often being densely covered with minute hairs below (See photo at right.). They are elliptic or ovate in shape and are opposite on the stems. The blades range from 1-3 cm long and 5-20 mm wide with entire margins or occasionally with a few coarse teeth or shallow lobes. The petioles are 1-3 mm long.

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 3-5 mm long and about equally wide. Common snowberry is similar in appearance but is an erect shrub with flowers 5-7 mm long.


Habitat:

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


Range:

Creeping snowberry may be found from southern British Columbia south to southern California. It is mainly found in and west of the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada, but may also be found in northern Idaho and southeastern Washington.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 1700'-3300' from Beacon Rock east to Bingen, WA. It is most common on the Washington side of the river.


Close-up of the flowers of Creeping Snowberry, Trailing Snowberry, Spreading Snowberry: Symphoricarpos mollis (Synonyms: Symphoricarpos hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis ssp. hesperius, Symphoricarpos mollis var. hesperius)

Paul Slichter