Coralberries - Indian Current - Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, Snowberry - S. albus

Native Shrubs ... in wildlife landscaping

West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program

  Form: Low shrub 2 to 4 feet tall.
  Bark and Twigs: Branches erect or ascending, purplish, finely hairy, papery bark
Coralberry - Pith solid
Snowberry - Pith hollow
  Leaves: Deciduous, opposite, simple, oval, smooth margined, often soft hairy beneath, 1 to 2 inches long.
  Flowers: Dense clusters in axils of the leaves, bell-shaped small (1/5 inch long or less), July.
Coralberry - Green to purple.
Snowberry - Pink or white.
  Fruit: Coralberry - Oval-round berries, purplish-red, 1/5 inch long, September into winter.
Snowberry - Small oval white, shiny berries.
West Virginia Range:
Although native species these plants have been put under cultivation and have escaped and may be found in all counties; they had a more restricted range previously.
Wildlife Use:
Songbirds and game birds. Pine and evening grosbeaks, brown thrasher, robins, towhees, grouse and pheasants eat the berries. The dense thickets provide excellent nest sites and cover for rodents, small mammals and songbirds. The flowers are frequently used by butterflies and moths.
Horticulture:
Uses: Large scale ground cover..
Light: Partial to full sun.
Soil Moisture: Moist tending toward dry.
Soil pH: Neutral to acid.
Problems: Heavy pruning to renew growth through sprouting usually controls several types of fungi that infect coralberries.

Compiled by: Brian McDonald, botanist, coordinator Natural Heritage Program, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, West Virginia

Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society members and jointly published with the WV Nongame Program

Illustration from Flora of West Virginia, Strausbaugh and Core