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

Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.
western snowberry (wolfberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #87574)

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Distribution of Symphoricarpos occidentalis
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Species Information

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Deciduous, low, erect shrub, 0.3-1 m tall, forming extensive colonies from rhizomes or by layering; stems dark grey, with shredding bark; twigs reddish-brown, short-hairy.
Opposite, on stalks 3-10 mm long, elliptic or egg-shaped, mostly 2.5-8 cm long and 1.5-5 cm wide, entire or with a few blunt, irregular teeth; leaves often larger and more lobed on sterile shoots; glabrous above, hairy beneath at least along veins; similar to those of S. albus, but thicker and more leathery, and often pointed at the tip.
Inflorescence of short, dense cluster of few to several flowers, stalked flowers at ends of twigs and in upper leaf axils; corollas bell-shaped, pale pink, tubular below, flaring above to 5 prominent, spreading lobes that equal or are a little longer than the tubes; styles 3-8 mm long, long-hairy near the middle or sometimes glabrous, equalling or slightly exceeding the corollas; anthers 1.5-2 mm long, shorter than the filaments.
Berrylike drupes, clusters, white, nearly globose, 6-9 mm long; nutlets 2, each enclosing 1 seed.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Moist streambanks and lakesides in the steppe and montane zones; frequent in BC east of Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to NT, E to PQ and S to KS, MO, VT, NM and WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Symphoricarpos occidentalis

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




Elevation (metres) 75 881 1770
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 151 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(65), BWBS(4), ICH(2), IDF(112), MS(21), PP(17), SBS(1)


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

Additional Photo Sources

General References