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FutureStarrWhite Snowberry or
White Snowberry is a rounded and bushy shrub with small leaves on arching stems. Clusters of small bell-shaped flowers begin to bloom in early summer, followed by attractive snow white berries later in the season. The clustered fruits remain attractive on the naked stems, all winter long.This adaptable native shrub tolerates a variety of conditions and soil types, including clay, but the best flowering and fruiting will occur in full sun. Symphoricarpos albus spreads by suckering rhizomes to form a colony. Brushy shelter for summer birds and important berries in the middle of winter are important wildlife features. It is also a larval host plant for the Vashti Sphinx and the Snowberry Clearwing moth among others.
Relationships: The genus Symphoricarpos has about 15 species, mostly native to North and Central America, with one from western China; 12 are found in the United States. Western Snowberry, S. occidentalis, and Mountain Snowberry, S. oreophilis, are mostly found on the east side of the Cascades. Trailing Snowberry, S. hesperius will be discussed in the groundcover section. S. albus var. laevigatus (meaning smooth) is the most common phase found on the Pacific slopes and is more aggressive than the eastern form; it has also been known as S. rivularis or S. racemosa var. laevigatus. It is more aggressive and differs from the S. albus var. albus by being larger, with larger berries and less hairy twigs and leaves. It often escapes cultivation in the eastern United States, and has naturalized in parts of Britain. n the Landscape: Common Snowberry has long been grown as an ornamental shrub. Winter is its most conspicuous season, where its white berries stand out against leafless branches. Its dainty pinkish flowers are also attractive.
Common Snowberry spreads by root suckers and is best given plenty of space to create a wild thicket. It tolerates poor soil and neglect. It is great for controlling erosion on slopes, riparian plantings, for restoration and mine reclamation projects. It is also popular in Rain Gardens.Use by People: Snowberries are high in saponins, which are poorly absorbed by the body. Although they are largely considered poisonous, (given names like ‘corpse berry’ or ‘snake’s berry’), some tribes ate them fresh or dried them for later consumption. The berries were used as a shampoo to clean hair. Crushed berries were also rubbed on the skin to treat burns, warts, rashes and sores; and rubbed in armpits as an antiperspirant. Various parts were infused and used as an eyewash for sore eyes. A tea made from the roots was used for stomach disorders; a tea made from the twigs was used for fevers. Branches were tied together to make brooms. Bird arrows were also made from the stems. (Source: nativeplantspnw.com)