WILDFLOWER HOME PAGE     SEARCH BY PLANT NAME     PINK/RED/ORANGE FLOWERS     CONTACT US



     "Symphoricarpos" is from the Greek "symphorein", "borne together," and "karpos", "fruit", and refers to the closely packed berries. 

     Henri Duamel du Monceau (1700-1781) named this genus.

Symphoricarpos longiflorus
Symphoricarpos longiflorus

Symphoricarpos longiflorus (Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands.  Spring.
Above: Comb Wash, Utah, October 28, 2013.
Left: Hunter Canyon, Utah, May 3, 2005.

This lovely shrub grows to about five feet tall and wide with interlaced straight and arching branches and numerous fragrant pink flowers.  Leaves are oval and hairy.  Small stems persist and become thorny.  Berries are abundant and white.  In the Four Corners region, Symphoricarpos longiflorus is not as abundant as its cousin, S. rotundifolius pictured below, but in its high desert habitat, it is relatively easy to find.

Asa Gray named this species in 1878 from a specimen collected by Searles in the Pahranagat Mountains in Nevada in 1871.

 

Symphoricarpos longiflorus

Symphoricarpos longiflorus (Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands.  Spring.
Hunter Canyon, Utah, May 3, 2005.

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius.  Synonym: Symphoricarpos oreophilus.  (Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Woodlands.  Spring.
Lower Stoner Mesa Trail, June 12, 2000.

Snowberry is a dominant shrub in many areas of the San Juans and other Four Corners mountains.  It  grows three to five feet tall and wide and covers large areas of the forest, especially under Aspen canopies.

This species was first collected for science by Charles Parry in Colorado and was named Symphoricarpos oreophilus by Asa Gray in 1873 and then renamed Symphoricarpos rotundifolius by Marcus Jones in 1895. Intermountain Flora and A Utah Flora consider these to be one species with the name, S. oreophilus. John Kartesz, ultimate authority for all names on this web site, separates these into two distinct species. William Weber, Colorado plant authority, maintains that they are one and the same and he calls them S. rotundifolius. In this case, I side with Weber.

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius
Symphoricarpos rotundifolius.  Synonym: Symphoricarpos oreophilus (Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Woodlands.  Spring.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, June 7, 2005.

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius
Symphoricarpos rotundifolius.  Synonym: Symphoricarpos oreophilus(Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Woodlands.  Spring.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, August 14, 2005.

The snow-white berries of Symphoricarpos rotundifolius appeal to few, if any, animals and remain on the bush until they drop to the forest floor in late winter or early spring.  Perhaps the berries remain uneaten because animals have learned of their toxic qualities; the berries are high in toxic saponins, steroidal glycoside compounds which can interfere in a number of ways with proper body functioning.  Interestingly, these saponins also give the foaming properties to such plant parts as Yucca roots, making them useful as soaps.

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius
Symphoricarpos rotundifolius.  Synonym: Symphoricarpos oreophilus(Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Woodlands.  Spring.
Lower Calico Trail, June 16, 2004.

A Tiger Swallowtail visits the delicate Snowberry flowers.

Symphoricarpos rotundifolius
Symphoricarpos rotundifolius.  Synonym: Symphoricarpos oreophilus(Snowberry)
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

Montane, subalpine.  Woodlands.  Spring.
Bear Creek Trail, October 4, 2012.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Symphoricarpos longiflorus  

Range map for Symphoricarpos rotundifolius