Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)


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Southern Alaska to California, and east to North Carolina.


Climate, elevation

Generally low to middle elevations in dry to moist woods and open areas.  Will grow in partial shade, but prefers open areas.


Local occurrence (where, how common)

Thickets, open and/or rocky slopes, dense woods (forests), along roadsides, on sandy river banks, in deciduous uplands, and under Pacific madrones.


Habitat preferences

Full sun to partial shade.  Warm, dry slopes and forests, or warm, moist slopes, or riparian benches and terraces.


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

Occurs as a climax species in early, mid, and late succession.  Considered both climax and seral species.


Associated species

Holodiscus discolor, Physocarpus malvaceus, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Festuca idahoensis, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies lasiocarpa, Crataegus douglasii, Rosa woodsii


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seeds, rhizomes

Collection restrictions or guidelines

Collect September-October through the winter.


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

Separate the seeds from the fleshy covering.  Has a very tough, hard, and impermeable covering so the seeds are very hard to germinate.  A 20 to 91 day warm stratification period followed by a cold stratification period of 60 to 300 days.


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

7-10 years under the right conditions.


Recommended seed storage conditions

Dry and store at below 5oC.


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Cuttings are easily rooted.  Seeds can be sown in the nursery.  Runners can be cut and propagated into healthy plants.  Bare root is very common and easy to plant.


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Seeds should be stored in a mixture of moist peat and sand.  Transplant runners into perlite.


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

Once seedlings have been established, they have good survival rates.  Bare root has also been successful.


Recommended planting density

Depends on area to be planted.  It can be established in thickets (dense planting), as an understory plant (sparse planting), or just an ornamental in a garden (very few).


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

Water until established root system.  Water enough to keep the soil wet, but not saturated.  Once established, will tolerate drought well.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Approximately only 2-6 feet tall, and can live 40+ years.


Sources cited







7.) Pojar, Jim, Mackinnon, Andy.  Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast.  Canada: Lone Pine, 1994.



Data compiled by (student name and date)

Kevin Klein 21 April 2003