E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Symphoricarpos albus (L.) S.F. Blake
common snowberry
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© May Kald  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16702)

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Distribution of Symphoricarpos albus
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Species Information

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General:
Deciduous, erect, much-branched shrub, often densely colonial from rhizomes, 0.5-3 m tall; older stems dark greyish-brown with shredding bark; branchlets glabrous; twigs thin, wiry.
Leaves:
Opposite, on stalks 2-4 mm long, elliptic to oval, 1.5-5 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide, obtuse at base and tip, margins entire or occasionally with a few wavy teeth; leaves often larger and irregularly lobed on sterile shoots; glabrous above, glabrous or spreading-hairy beneath.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of short, dense clusters (racemes) of few, short-stalked to nearly stalked flowers, at ends of twigs and often also in upper leaf axils; corollas widely bell-shaped, 5-7 mm long, hairy within; petals pink to whitish, fused at bases into tubes that flare at top to 5 lobes, which are as long to half as long as the tubes; styles 2-3 mm long, glabrous; stamens shorter than corolla lobes, the anthers 1-1.5 mm long, about as long as the filaments.
Fruits:
Berrylike drupes, densely clustered, waxy white, ellipsoid or nearly globose, 5-15 mm long; nutlets 2, each enclosing a seed; some fruits persist through the winter.
Notes:
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Plants 0.5-1 m tall; fruits usually less than 1 cm long; infrequent in E BC................... var. albus

1. Plants 1-3 m tall; fruits 1-1.5 cm long; our common phase......................... var. laevigatus (Fern.) Blake

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
White
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: White
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, disturbed areas, grasslands, shrublands, and forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; extremely common in S BC, common in C BC, infrequent northward; N to NT, E to PQ, and S to NE, VA, CO and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Symphoricarpos albus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 1 878 2854
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 240
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 197 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
5674
Modal BEC Zone Class
IDF
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(1), BG(102), BWBS(184), CDF(204), CWH(225), ESSF(110), ICH(1032), IDF(2152), MS(633), PP(263), SBPS(15), SBS(537)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs on nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, temperate,. cool semiarid, and mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and precipitation. Tolerates fluctuating ground-water tables. Scattered in coniferous forests, plentiful in broadĀ­leaved forests on water-shedding and water-receiving (floodplain) sites; persists on cutover areas. Commonly associated with Aster conspicuus, Calamagrostis rubescens, Mahonia aquifolium, M. nervosa, Spiraea betulifolia, and Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References