Symphoricarpos albus - (L.) Blake
Snowberry
Other English Common Names: Common Snowberry
Other Common Names: common snowberry
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake (TSN 35332)
French Common Names: symphorine blanche
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148250
Element Code: PDCPR05020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Honeysuckle Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Dipsacales Caprifoliaceae Symphoricarpos
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Symphoricarpos albus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 16May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 06Sep1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread and abundant in much of North America. In some areas, it is a problem pest species invading grassland habitats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (19Mar2012)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S2), California (SNR), Colorado (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S1), Kentucky (S1), Maine (SNA), Maryland (S1), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Missouri (SNR), Montana (S5), Nebraska (S1), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (SNR), North Carolina (SNR), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNR), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Utah (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S3), Washington (SNR), West Virginia (S2), Wisconsin (SNR), Wyoming (S3)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (SNR), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S3), Saskatchewan (S5)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: It is distributed throughout North America with the exception of Mexico. The plant may be found associated with FESTUCA IDAHOENSIS or CRATAEGUS on north-facing slopes in the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho (Daubenmire 1970, Allen et al. 1980). In the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, S. ALBUS is found with FESTUCA IDAHOENSIS, AGROPYRON SPICATUM, POA SANDBERGII, and CAREX GEYERI in grasslands and as an element of the understory in Ponderosa pine forests (Holechek et al. 1982). S. ALBUS also occurs in Douglas fir zones of southern British Columbia (McLean 1969). Agee and Dunwiddie (1984) found S. ALBUS in two habitats on Yellow Island in Puget Sound, Washington: (1) in woodlands associated with madrone, Oregon white oak, and invading Douglas fir and (2) as an element of the understory in Douglas fir- madrone-grand fir forests. According to Munz and Keck (1968), S. ALBUS is found on banks and flats in canyons and near streams below 4,000 feet in mixed evergreen forests, foothill woodlands, yellow pine forests, etc., of the Coast Ranges of California from Monterey County north and northern Sierra Nevada to Alaska.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: S. ALBUS is a potential threat to grassland element occurrences adjacent to woodlands and forests with S. ALBUS in the understory, particularly when fire is suppressed or summer moisture is increased.

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: It is distributed throughout North America with the exception of Mexico. The plant may be found associated with FESTUCA IDAHOENSIS or CRATAEGUS on north-facing slopes in the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho (Daubenmire 1970, Allen et al. 1980). In the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, S. ALBUS is found with FESTUCA IDAHOENSIS, AGROPYRON SPICATUM, POA SANDBERGII, and CAREX GEYERI in grasslands and as an element of the understory in Ponderosa pine forests (Holechek et al. 1982). S. ALBUS also occurs in Douglas fir zones of southern British Columbia (McLean 1969). Agee and Dunwiddie (1984) found S. ALBUS in two habitats on Yellow Island in Puget Sound, Washington: (1) in woodlands associated with madrone, Oregon white oak, and invading Douglas fir and (2) as an element of the understory in Douglas fir- madrone-grand fir forests. According to Munz and Keck (1968), S. ALBUS is found on banks and flats in canyons and near streams below 4,000 feet in mixed evergreen forests, foothill woodlands, yellow pine forests, etc., of the Coast Ranges of California from Monterey County north and northern Sierra Nevada to Alaska.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DEexotic, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MEexotic, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RIexotic, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, NT, ON, PEexotic, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Haines (02100)*, Sitka (02220), Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon (CA) (02232)*
IA Allamakee (19005), Clayton (19043)
IL Jo Daviess (17085)*, Kane (17089), La Salle (17099)*
KY Estill (21065), Madison (21151)
MA Berkshire (25003)*, Franklin (25011)
MD Allegany (24001), Washington (24043)
NE Cherry (31031), Dawes (31045), Sioux (31165)
VA Lee (51105), Roanoke (51161), Scott (51169), Shenandoah (51171)*, Wythe (51197)*
WV Grant (54023), Hardy (54031), Morgan (54065), Pendleton (54071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Middle Connecticut (01080201)+
02 South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, North Fork Shenandoah (02070006)+*
03 Upper Roanoke (03010101)+
05 Upper New (05050001)+*, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+
06 Upper Clinch (06010205)+
07 Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+*, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+*, Lower Fox (07120007)+
10 Hat (10120108)+, Upper White (10140201)+, Niobrara Headwaters (10150002)+*, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Keya Paha (10150006)+*
19 Baranof-Chichagof Islands (19010203)+, Chilkat-Skagway Rivers (19010303)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS is a finely-branched, erect, perennial shrub.
General Description: SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS is a finely-branched, erect, perennial shrub.
Technical Description: SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS is 3-20 (30) dm tall. Branches are slender; the young twigs glabrous, the older with tan-gray to grayish-brown bark splitting lengthwise. The opposite leaves are oval, mostly 2- 3 (4) cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm wide, acute to obtuse, dark green and glabrous above, slightly paler and glabrous or with scattered hairs beneath, and larger on young shoots. The margins are entire, strongly wavy or lobed.

The flowers are often numerous and in short-peduncled racemes, 1- 2.5 cm long. The bracts and bractlets are glabrous. The sepals are triangular, 0.5 mm long. The five-merous rose-pink to white corolla is bell-shaped, villous within, 5-7 mm long, the lobes as long as the tube and obtuse. The short style is 2 mm long and glabrous. The waxy, white, berrylike fruit is subglobose to ellipsoid, 8-12 mm in diameter and contains plano-convex nutlets, 4-6 mm long and 3-3.5 mm wide.

This description is from Munz and Keck (1973).

Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Common snowberry spreads mainly by vegetative means through sprouting (Willard and McKell 1973). It reproduces by rhizomes as well as by seed and resprouts after fire or cutting (Tisdale and Hironaka 1981).
Ecology Comments: S. ALBUS and related species provide important winter and summer browse for game animals and for sheep and cattle in areas where grasses have cured or where grass cover is less abundant. Several range and forest management studies have looked at encouraging common snowberry growth and monitoring effects of browsing (Willard and McKell 1973, Szukiel 1981).

Another group of studies has looked at the invasion of this species into grasslands (McLean 1969, Anderson and Bailey 1979, Agee and Dunwiddie 1984). Most research on the species has involved manipulations of individual plants and/or communities, and little literature exists on plant reproduction or ecology in unmanipulated settings.

Willard and McKell (1973) clipped SYMPHORICARPOS VACCINIOIDES for five years to simulate browsing. Treatments involved clipping at the same time each year, under deferred-rotation, alternate rest, and rest rotation grazing systems, each at three intensities (30%, 60%, and 90%) of herbage removal. Sprout numbers were higher in all of the clipping treatments, increasing with increased percent herbage removal. However, sprout mortality increased propor- tionately. Carbohydrate reserves were lowered by annual clipping in July. Future production of twigs, leaves and seeds was reduced by annual 60-90% herbage removals in early or mid-season. However, 30% herbage removal stimulated future production of leaves and twigs.

George and McKell (1978a, 1978b) studied seasonal patterns in car- bohydrate reserves in S. OREOPHILUS. Nonstructural carbohydrate reserves were lowest in May due mainly to a reduction in nonstruc- tural carbohydrate (NC) reserves in small roots and old stems. Carbohydrate levels in large roots and root crowns remained relatively stable seasonally. NCs for leaf production appear to come from stems rather than roots and followed a declining trend in plants fully defoliated at two-week intervals from June 1 to July 15, and on May 15, May 30, and June 15 the second year (George and McKell 1978a). Plants receiving this treatment died at the end of two years.

McLean (1969) categorized species based on their fire resistance by looking at rooting characteristics. The root system of S. ALBUS is described as fibrous with rhizomes which grow between 5 and 13 cm below the mineral soil surface and which show signs of being able to regenerate from those depths. It was predicted to be a fire-resistant plant because roots penetrate below depths that experience the greatest increases in temperature during fire.

Anderson and Bailey (1980) conducted burns in grass and shrublands annually for 24 years. Burns were conducted in April when soil moisture was high. The percent cover of SYMPHORICARPOS OCCIDEN- TALIS was much lower in burned plots than unburned plots; however, there was no difference in frequency. In Kansas, annual early spring burning reduced stem densities of S. ORBICULATUS, while late-spring burning eliminated the species entirely (Smith and Owensby 1972).

Westcott (1982) describes a species of tephritid fly, RHAGOLETIS ZEPHYRIA, the snowberry maggot, that oviposits on snowberry fruits. However, no estimates of infestation rates or effects on seed production were given. Because snowberry spreads mostly by vegetative growth and sprouting (Willard and McKell 1973), it is unlikely that reduction of seed production by flies would result in significant decline in snowberry populations.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Common snowberry occurs on dry to moist, well-drained sites in sun or partial shade, including thickets, woods, and open slopes from lowlands to mid-elevation in mountains.
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: FORAGE/BROWSE, Pasture
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: More information on the cause of the increase in SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS and documentation of rates of spread is needed. Research on methods of control, especially fire and cutting, are also needed.
Management Requirements: S. ALBUS is a natural component of many communities but increases with fire suppression and increased summer moisture. S. ALBUS is a potential threat to grassland element occurrences adjacent to woodlands and forests with S. ALBUS in the understory where these conditions occur.

Burning and cutting may be successful control methods for arresting the invasion of SYMPHORICARPOS into grasslands. Due to snowberry's tendency to vigorously resprout, treatments are required over several years. Cutting or burning should be done in late spring or early summer when the effects on S. ALBUS would be most severe. Multiple cuttings in a single year may also speed reductions in S. ALBUS. Annual, late-spring burning may also control the species.

Monitoring Requirements: Height and density of stems and aerial extent of patches may be used to monitor this species.

Management Programs: WAFO is experimenting with the herbicide Round-Up. Five plots were sprayed in July 1985.
Management Research Programs: The Washington Field Office is experimenting with the use of the herbicide Round-Up in snowberry control.
Management Research Needs: More experimentation with methods of control is needed.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07Jun1988
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: TERESA MAUER, MARY J. RUSSO (Revision), WAFO
Management Information Edition Date: 07Jun1988
Management Information Edition Author: TERESA MAUER, MARY J. RUSSO (Revision), WAFO
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Jun1988
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): TERESA MAUER, MARY J. RUSSO (Revision), WAFO

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Agee, J, K, and P. W. Dunwiddie. 1984. Recent forest development on Yellow Island, San Juan County, WA. Can. J. Bot. 62:2074-2080.

  • Allen, A. R., M. A. Fosberg, M. C. LaZelle, and A. L. Falen. 1980. Plant communities and soils of north slopes in the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Northwest Science 55:248-262.

  • Anderson, H. G. and A. W. Bailey. 1980. Effects of annual burning on grasslands in the aspen parkland of east-central Alberta. Can. J. Botany 58:985-996.

  • Anderson, M. L. and A. W. Bailey. 1979. Effect of fire on a Symphoricarpos occidentalis shrub community on central Alberta. Can J. Bot. 57:2819-2823.

  • Bailey, A. W. and M. L. Anderson. 1980. Fire temperatures in grass, shrub and aspen forest communities in central Alberta. J. Range Management 33:37-40.

  • George, M. R. and C. M. McKell. 1978a. Distribution of food reserves in snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus). J. Range Management 31:101-104.

  • George, M. R. and C. M. McKell. 1978b. Nonstructural carbohydrate depletion in snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus). J. Range Management 31:46-48.

  • Holechek, J. L., M. Vavra, J. Skovlin, and W. C. Krueger. 1982. Cattle diets in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. II. Forests. J. Range Management 35:239-242.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • McLean, A. 1969. Fire resistance of forest species as influenced by root systems. J. Range Management 22:120-122.

  • Munz, P.A., and D.D. Keck. 1973. A California Flora and Supplement. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1905 pp.

  • Smith, E. F. and C. E. Ownesby. 1972. Effects of fire on true prairie grasslands. Tall Timb. Fire Ecol. Conf. Proc. 12:9-22.

  • Szukiel, E. 1981. Food preferences of deer in relation to winter fodder including woody plants. Acta Theriodologica 26:319-330.

  • Tisdale, E. W. and M. Hironaka. 1981. The sagebrush-grass region: a review of the ecological literature. Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, University of Idaho, Moscow.

  • Westcott, R. L. 1982. Differentiating adults of apple maggot, Rhaoletis pomonella (Walsh) from snowberry maggot, R. zephyria Snow( Diptera: Tephritidae) in Oregon. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 58:25-30.

  • Willard, E. E. 1972. Some factors involved in activation of sprouting in little rabbitbrush and snowberry on summer range. Ph.D. dissertation. Utah State University, Logan, UT.

  • Willard, E. E. and C. M. McKell. 1973. Simulated grazing management systems in relation to shrub growth responses. J. Range Management 26:171-174.

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