We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Symphoricarpos occidentalis - Hook.

Common Name Wolfberry, Western snowberry
Family Caprifoliaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards No report of toxicity has been seen for this species but the fruit of many if not all members of this genus contains saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins but it would take extremely large doses of many kilos of fruit from this plant in order to produce toxic symptoms[65]. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Bluffs, dry prairies and plains[43], mainly in the Rockies[11].
Range Western N. America - Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota to British Columbia, Kansas and Colorado.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Symphoricarpos occidentalis Wolfberry, Western snowberry


Symphoricarpos occidentalis Wolfberry, Western snowberry

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Symphoricarpos occidentalis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Synonyms

S. heyeri.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[161]. Insipid. They are best if cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails[177, 257]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[200]. See the notes at top of page regarding possible toxicity.

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Birthing aid;  Ophthalmic.

An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash for weak and inflamed eyes[257]. An infusion of the root has been used to cleanse the afterbirth and aid in convalescence[257].

Other Uses

Broom;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Soil stabilization.

Plants have extensive root systems and are used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes[200]. The branches can be made into brooms[257]. Very tolerant of trimming, it can be grown as a medium to tall hedge[200].

Cultivation details

Tolerates most soils and conditions, including poor soils and amongst the roots and under the drip of trees[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a well-drained soil[200]. Does well in sun or shade[1]. Tolerates urban pollution and maritime exposure[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -40°c[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months warm then 5 months cold stratification[98]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 15 - 25cm long preferably with a heel, in a sheltered bed outdoors in winter. High percentage[78, 200]. Division of suckers in winter. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

Hook.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Symphoricarpos occidentalis  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.