Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake
Deciduous, erect, much-branched shrub, often densely colonial from rhizomes, 0.5-3m tall, older stems dark greyish-brown with shredding bark; branchlets glabrous; twigs thin, wiry. Leaves: Opposite, on stalks 2-4 mm long, elliptic to oval, 1.5-5 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide, obtuse at base and tip, margins entire or occasionally with a few wavy teeth; leaves often larger and irregularly lobed on sterile shoots; glabrous above, glabrous or spreading-hairy beneath. Flowers: Inflorescence of short, dense clusters (racemes) of few, short-stalked to nearly stalked flowers, at ends of twigs and often also in upper leaf axils; corollas widely bell-shaped, 5-7 mm long, hairy within; petals pink to whitish, fused at bases into tubes that flare at top to five lobes, which are as long to half as long as the tubes; styles 2-3 mm long, glabrous; stamens shorter than corolla lobes, the anthers 1-1.5 mm long, about as long as the filaments. Fruits: Berrylike drupes, densely clustered, waxy white-ellipsoid or nearly globose, 5-15 mm long; nutlets two, each enclosing a seed; some fruits persist through the winter (Douglas et al., 1998). Photo by Moralea Milne.
waxberry, white coralberry
Mesic to dry meadows, disturbed areas, grasslands, shrublands, and forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones (Douglas et al., 1998). Scattered in coniferous forests, plentiful in broad-leaved forests on water-shedding and water-receiving sites; persists on cut-over sites (Klinka et al., 1989). In upland, moist, well-drained soils, from sea level to mid-elevations in forests and on open slopes, and river banks (Rose et al., 1998).
Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms (Klinka et al., 1989).
Nitrogen rich soils (Klinka et al., 1989).
soil reaction salinity
pH 6.0 to 7.8 (Klein, 2003).
Dry to moist (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Tolerates fluctuating ground water; on moisture shedding or moisture receiving sites (Klinka et al., 1989).
Shade tolerant/intolerant (Klinka et al., 1989).
Occurs in early, mid and late-successional stages and as a climax species. It is considered part of the climax species in Douglas-fir in warm, dry habitat types. In thin-leaf alder/snowberry associations it is considered mid-seral and is included as early-seral stages of some western hemlock habitats (USDA Forest Service, 2006).
bec zone subzone status
In Coastal Douglas-fir zone bordering Garry oak communities. Often becomes invasive with Douglas-fir in Garry oak meadows unless controlled (historically by fire).
Good soil binder (Snyder, 1991; King County, 1994). Good for rehabilitating riparian areas and mine spoils (Snyder, 1991).
Important food for pheasant, grouse, partridge, and quail (Synder, 1991). Butterflies are attracted by the flowers.
Hedges or hedgerows.
Considered poisonous, although one or two berries were eaten by Stl’atl’imx to settle the stomach after too much fatty food (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994).
fruit ripening time
seed collection time
Mid-October through winter
no seeds per kg
Dried seed at 5o C remains viable for up to two years.
collection and abstraction
Strip or flail fruit onto canvas or picking by hand. Clean by macerating with water and allow pulp to float off (Evans, 1974).
Dry and store in sealed containers at 5o C remains viable for two years (Evans, 1974).
fruit seed dormancy treatment
Embryo dormancy and mild seed coat dormancy occurs. Warm stratify for 60 days at room temperature to soften the endocarp, followed by 180 days of cold stratification at 5o C. Plant 0.6 cm deep in soil and mulch with layer of sawdust (Evans, 1974).
|Method||Success Rate||Time of Collection|
|Softwood cuttings: root in perlite peat under a mist.||90 to 100% when treated with IBA solutions between 1000 and 3000 ppm.||April to June|
|Semi-hardwood cuttings: root in pure perlite under a mist.||As above||June to August|
|Hardwood cuttings. 15 - 20 cm.||Good||February to March|
|Root cuttings||Moderate but needs experimentation||n/a|
|Suckers: cut underground runners and transplant suckers.||Good||October to February|
|Plant division||Good||October to February|
Propagates by woody runners so can be cut and transplanted into flats of perlite from October to February (King County, 1994). Hardwood cuttings 15-20 cm long and insert into ordinary soil in shade (Hellyer, 1972). Store cuttings over winter in damp sawdust or peat moss. Dip in rooting hormone and strike in potting soil in late February to early March (Rose et al., 1998).
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.