Western SnowberrySymphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.
This short-lived prairie plant spreads by underground rhizomes to form large colonies, and so is sometimes used for erosion control. This shrub is also a successful colonizer of disturbed sites. Although hummingbirds are the main pollinators, flower nectar and pollen are attractive to bees, flies, ants, butterflies, and moths. Plants are also a source of food, cover, and nesting sites for birds, small mammals, and browsers. The white berries can be poisonous to humans if eaten.
Canadian Rarity Status:
Not rare. Listed as “exotic” in Ontario.
The woody, reddish-brown, branching stems of this small shrub grow 30-100 cm tall. They are hairy, have shredding bark, and persist over the winter. The opposite, stalked leaves are oval to egg-shaped with smooth to sparsely-toothed edges and hairy undersides. White, bell-shaped flowers occur in small clusters in the upper leaf axils. Their tubular bases flare out forming five lobes. Fruits are fleshy, white, berry-like drupes, drying to bluish black in winter.
Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake), Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium L.)
Seeds and/or plants may be available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Makes a good addition to bird and prairie gardens.
- British Columbia
- Northwest Territories
- Fescue Prairie
- Mixed Grass Prairie
- Tall Grass Prairie
- River Valleys
- Rocky Slopes
- Full Sun
- Andrenid Bees, Miner/Digger Bees (Andrenidae)
- Ants (Formicidae)
- Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)
- Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
- Bumble, Honey, and other Bees (Apidae (Subfamily Apinae))
- Crabronid Wasps (Crabronidae)
- Cuckoo Bees (Apidae (Subfamily Nomadinae))
- Flesh Flies (Sarcophagidae)
- Flower Flies (Syrphidae)
- Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
- Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
- Leafcutter and Mason Bees (Megachilidae)
- Muscid Flies (Muscidae)
- Owlet Moths (Noctuidae)
- Parasitic Flies (Tachinidae)
- Skippers (Hesperiidae)
- Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)
- Sphinx and Hawk Moths (Sphingidae)
- Sweat Bees, Halictid Bees and other Bees (Halictidae)
- Whites, Sulfurs, Orangtips, Marbles (Pieridae)
- Yellow-faced Bees (Colletidae)
- Yellowjacket, Potter, and other Wasps (Vespidae)