Common Snowberry – Symphoricarpos Albus
The common snowberry is a medium sized deciduous shrub (1-2m) and can be found on wooded hillsides and rocky open slopes. It requires shade to full sun (shade tolerant) and likes well draining, nutritionally poor soil conditions, such as sand or gravel, that are dry to moist. This perennial can be identified by its small oval leaves with small pinkish-white bell-shaped flower clusters that bloom in summer. During the winter, its white berries stand out against its bare branches.
Although beautiful, these berries are poisonous to consume by humans and pets. First Nations Peoples crushed these berries and used them to treat burns, warts, rashes, and sores. Aside from the berries, a tea could be made from the roots and stem to heal stomach ailments.
The common snowberry attracts a range of wildlife including songbirds, small mammals and butterflies.
Other Uses: N
Soil: Sandy or rocky
Watering: Moderate to dry
Sun: Partial shade to full sun
Usually found at: Wooded hillsides and rocky open slopes
Pollinators & wildlife: Pollinated by bees. Attract a range of wildlife including hummingbirds, butterflies, songbirds, and small mammals.
Ornamental: Often used as an ornamental bush, its white berries stand out against its bare branches in winter. Its pale pink flowers are attractive to humans, butterflies, and hummingbirds in the summer.
Leaves: Small, 2-5 cm long leaves are ovate, rounded, or elliptical in shape and attach as opposite pairs on branches.
Flowers: Small, 0.5 cm long, bell-shaped flowers end in drooping clusters at the tip of branches. They have pale pink in colour.
Berries: Initially pale green globose berries ripen to a white colour in late summer to early fall.
First Nations uses: The berries were crushed and used to treat burns, warts, rashes, and sores. The roots and stems were used in tea to treat stomach ailments.