Marin snowberries (Symphoricarpos species)

by Doreen Smith

There are two species of this shrub found in Marin. The more common and robust species is Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus. The old name for this species was Symphoricarpos rivularis. It grows in relatively moist sites such as stream banks and shaded woodland margins. The late-spring to summer flowers are small and pink, and the berries are large and white, hence the common name snowberry.

The photographs of this species are from plants abundant by the road near Deer Island,  Novato.

The other species is Symphoricarpos mollis (creeping snowberry) which is a shorter, more delicate shrub with slender twigs and prefers to grow on rocky or gravelly slopes. The berries are smaller than S. albus and are fewer per node of the flowering stems.

The photographs of this species are from the western banks of Lake Lagunitas.

Text by Doreen Smith, and photos by Vernon Smith