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Snowberry (Waxberry)

Symphoricarpos albus

Snowberry

APPEARANCE

A small shrub, from 0.5 to two metres tall, with oval leaves and many small twigs. The flowers are pinkish-white, bell-shaped and grow in clusters. The fruits are round and white, and they stay on the plant through much of the winter.

RANGE & HABITAT

Snowberries are found from Alaska to the northwest US, in many places. They grow in dry or moist openings, forests, rocky areas and even along beaches.

LIFE CYCLE

The snowberry shrub flowers in early summer, and the fruits ripen with two seeds. They spread with the seeds and by underground stems.

ANIMAL USES

Sheep and other hoofed animals eat the leaves, and many small birds nest under the plants.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

Occasionally, First Nations groups would eat one or two of the berries after a big meal, but for the most part they were considered poisonous.

MODERN USES

Snowberries are sold as ornamental garden plants, and they are sometimes used in floral arrangements.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.mountainnature.com

Photo: ElleAnn