dcsimg

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Common Names

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common snowberry
snowberry
white coralberry
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Conservation Status

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts [72] lists common snowberry as an endangered species.

Virginia classifies common snowberry as very rare within the state [112].

Delaware [34] has common snowberry on their watchlist of rare native plants.
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Cover Value

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More info for the terms: cover, habitat type

Common snowberry provides cover for several species of birds and mammals. White-tailed deer in western Montana show a marked preference for the Douglas-fir/common snowberry habitat type in winter. It is speculated that this preference is for structure of the habitat type [12]. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, Merriam's turkeys prefer common snowberry for cover [93]. Ruffed, blue and sharp-tailed grouse use common snowberry extensively as thermal cover [27,93,94]. In Palouse prairie habitat, common snowberry provides cover for small mammals [29]. In northern Idaho and eastern Washington, common snowberry is considered important cover for small mammals in several habitat types [90]. Pocket gophers dig large numbers of shallow burrows underneath common snowberry in winter in northeast Oregon [13] and desert cottontails use it in Nebraska [25].

In western Montana, common snowberry is rated for cover value as follows [52,53]:Elk poor (rarely or never utilized when available) Mule deer fair (moderately utilized) White-tailed deer good (readily utilized when available) Upland game birds good Waterfowl good Nongame birds good Small mammals good
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Description

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More info for the terms: drupe, seed, shrub

Common snowberry is a native, deciduous, shrub that is densely branched. Plants vary in height from 3 to 4.5 feet (1-1.5 m) [50,70,104]. In riparian habitats, common snowberry can reach a height of 6 feet (2 m) [70]. It has a rhizomatous growth habit with rhizomes 2 to 5 inches (5-12.5 cm) deep in mineral soil and commonly forms dense thickets. Flowers are borne in small clusters that produce white drupes. Each drupe contains 2 nutlets with 1 seed per nutlet [50,70,104].

One source [11] reports common snowberry to have a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal relationship in British Columbia. In western Washington, common snowberry has been found to contain allelopathic chemicals [33].

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Distribution

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Common snowberry occurs from Hudson Bay to Alaska, south to California and east to North Carolina. Symphoricarpos albus var. albus, the Atlantic slope variety, has the same general distribution described above for common snowberry. Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus, Pacific slope variety, is found from southern Alaska south to California, Montana and Colorado [38,65].

Common snowberry was introduced into England in 1817 and is now well naturalized [47]. Delaware [34] lists it as an introduced species (see other status). In Utah it is classified as a cultivated ornamental shrub introduced from elsewhere in North America [116].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Fire Ecology

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More info for the terms: fire regime, seed, severity

Common snowberry is classified as a "survivor" [71,103] and has high resistance to fire [26,73,84]. It is a rhizomatous species with rhizomes buried 2 to 5 inches (5-12.5 cm) deep in mineral soil [50,70,104]. After fire has killed the top of the plant, new growth sprouts from these rhizomes [77,83,118]. This rhizomatous growth response is highly variable and depends on conditions at specific sites [23,77,84]. Regeneration from buried seed is favored by fires of low severity and short duration that remove little of the soil organic level [23,55].

FIRE REGIMES:
Common snowberry occurs in a wide variety of community/habitat types and plant associations (see DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE) [15,31,41,42], which have various FIRE REGIMES. Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find FIRE REGIMES". Fire-return intervals in communities where common snowberry is most common are provided below.

Community or Ecosystem Scientific name of dominant species Fire return interval in years Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [19] Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine* P. ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-10 [19] Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 40-140 [79,107] coastal Douglas-fir* P. menziesii var. menziesii 95-242 [82,91] *Fire-return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the Species Review.
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Fire Management Considerations

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More info for the terms: competition, cover, fruit, fuel, rhizome, seed, shrubs, tree

Common snowberry is one of the first species to recolonize a postfire site. New growth provides forage and often bears increased fruit crops. Cover is provided for small wildlife species and lush vegetation can protect soil surfaces from splash erosion, but can also offer severe competition to new tree seedlings. The living rhizome systems can be important in retaining nutrients released by fire [77]. One study [5] found that planting grass seed to control erosion reduced coverage of common snowberry and other native shrubs on several burned sites in Oregon.

In Saskatchewan, to burn common snowberry it is recommended waiting 4 days after heavy rains. In addition, if spring burning, a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 oC), wind speed of 2-12 mi hr-1 (3-19 km hr-1), and a maximum relative humidity of 50% is suggested. After burning, a 2-year wait is needed to build up enough fuel to burn again [9]. Common snowberry may be susceptible to frequent burning [100]. If planting common snowberry, prompt, early spring planting is required or it may experience moisture stress in the short term [36].

Common snowberry has a low surface to volume ratio and will have a high flammability if there are many dead stems [18]. It is capable of producing firebrand material. When located near fire control lanes, it should be red-flagged as spot fire potential [83].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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Phanerophyte
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Habitat characteristics

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Common snowberry occurs on a wide variety of soil types [50]. It is tolerant of mildly acidic to moderately alkaline conditions and somewhat tolerant of salts. It can also survive under low nutrient conditions [115]. It does well on soils derived from limestone and not well on soils derived from granitic sources [49]. It is often found on disturbed, coarse-textured and rocky soils in Alberta [115]. It does best on well-drained soils [51,52,118].

These well-drained sites can range from warm dry slopes and open forests (where it is used as an indicator species) [51] to warm moist slopes [118] to riparian benches and terraces [52]. It will grow in partial shade, but prefers more open sites [115]

Elevation ranges for some western states include [3]:

 4,200 to 6,700 feet (1,572-2,061 m) in South Dakota
 5,500 to 7,900 feet (1,676-2,408 m) in Colorado
 4,200 to 8,300 feet (1,572-2,553 m) in Wyoming
 2,600 to 6,300 feet (800-1,938 m) in Montana
 7,700 to 9,200 feet (2,389-2,831 m) in Colorado and New Mexico
 2,600 to 5,400 feet (800-1353 m) in Idaho and Washington
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

1 Jack pine

16 Aspen

18 Paper birch

42 Bur oak

53 White oak

107 White spruce

205 Mountain hemlock

210 Interior Douglas-fir

211 White fir

212 Western larch

213 Grand fir

215 Western white pine

216 Blue spruce

217 Aspen

218 Lodgepole pine

220 Rocky Mountain juniper

222 Black cottonwood-willow

224 Western hemlock

229 Pacific Douglas-fir

230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock

233 Oregon white oak

235 Cotton-willow

237 Interior ponderosa pine

239 Pinyon-juniper

243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer

244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir

245 Pacific ponderosa pine

246 California black oak

250 Blue oak-foothills pine

251 White spruce-aspen

255 California coast live oak
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES10 White-red-jack pine

FRES11 Spruce-fir

FRES15 Oak-hickory

FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood

FRES19 Aspen-birch

FRES20 Douglas-fir

FRES21 Ponderosa pine

FRES22 Western white pine

FRES23 Fir-spruce

FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce

FRES25 Larch

FRES26 Lodgepole pine

FRES28 Western hardwoods

FRES29 Sagebrush

FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

FRES36 Mountain grasslands

FRES38 Plains grasslands

FRES39 Prairie
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the terms: forest, shrub, woodland

K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest

K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest

K003 Silver fir-Douglas-fir forest

K004 Fir-hemlock forest

K005 Mixed conifer forest

K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest

K010 Ponderosa shrub forest

K011 Western ponderosa forest

K012 Douglas-fir forest

K013 Cedar-hemlock-pine forest

K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest

K015 Western spruce-fir forest

K016 Eastern ponderosa forest

K017 Black Hills pine forest

K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K020 Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest

K022 Great Basin pine forest

K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland

K024 Juniper steppe woodland

K025 Alder-ash forest

K026 Oregon oakwoods

K028 Mosaic of K002 & K026

K029 California mixed evergreen forest

K030 California oakwoods

K033 Chaparral

K034 Montane chaparral

K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub

K038 Great Basin sagebrush

K050 Fescue-wheatgrass

K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass

K055 Sagebrush steppe

K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe

K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass

K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

K069 Bluestem-grama prairie

K074 Bluestem prairie

K081 Oak savanna

K093 Great Lakes spruce-fir forest

K095 Great Lakes pine forest

K096 Northeastern spruce-fir forest

K100 Oak-hickory

K101 Elm-ash forest

K104 Appalachian oak forest

K107 Northern hardwoods-fir forest
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: shrubland, woodland

102 Idaho fescue

109 Ponderosa pine shrubland

110 Ponderosa pine-grassland

201 Blue oak woodland

202 Coast live oak woodland

203 Riparian woodland

411 Aspen woodland

412 Juniper-pinyon woodland

416 True mountain-mahogany

421 Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose

422 Riparian
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Immediate Effect of Fire

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More info for the terms: density, fire intensity, rhizome

Common snowberry is top-killed by fire, but belowground parts are very resistant to fire [71,77,83,103,118]. Variable response to fire has been reported [23,77,84] but in general, light- to moderate-severity fires increase stem density [15,23,36], and common snowberry survives even severe fires [15,26,84]. To eliminate rhizomatous sprouting, fire intensity must be severe enough to kill the roots and rhizome system [1].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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More info for the term: cover

Common snowberry is considered important browse for many types of wildlife and livestock. It is especially important to domestic sheep and cattle [22,23,53,84,98,108,109,111]. In Oregon, common snowberry was found to be highly palatable to cattle. It plays a critical role in permitting cattle to meet their protein requirements during the latter half of the growing season [60]. It provides summer forage for cattle in Idaho [22,108] and is 1 of 2 major woody plants in cattle diet during fall in South Dakota [111]. However, it is rated as poor forage for cattle in Nebraska [105]. Domestic sheep also utilize common snowberry for browse and it is considered fair to good forage. It is has no forage value for horses [53,84].

Bighorn sheep use common snowberry regularly during the summer in Montana and Idaho [84] and in fall, winter, and early spring in British Columbia [109]. White-tailed deer utilize it regularly during summer and fall [57,84,108]. In British Columbia, white-tailed deer use it mainly in fall, winter, and early spring [109]. Reports of elk utilization vary. In western Montana, 1 source [37] reports Rocky Mountain elk use common snowberry frequently and heavily during early summer while another [53] states that elk rarely or never use it, even when available. Yet another source [84] reports its forage value to elk as fair. Moose are reported as utilizing common snowberry extensively during winter in the Gallatin River drainage in Montana [102]. However, Pierce [85] found moose utilization of it very light in north-central Idaho and another source [24] states common snowberry is unpalatable to moose. Grizzly bears use common snowberry as food [30].

Common snowberry is important as both cover and food for bird and small mammal populations [25,27]. These include sharp-tailed, ruffed, and blue grouse [27,61,94], wild turkey [59] and, several non-game species of bird including the kingbird, western flycatcher, and western bluebird [109]. Among small mammals that rely on common snowberry are fox squirrels [59], desert cottontails [25], and pocket gophers [13].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Key Plant Community Associations

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More info for the terms: climax, forest, habitat type, hardwood, shrub

Across its distribution, common snowberry is classified as dominant or subdominant in a variety of habitat and community types and vegetation associations. Most of these listings are at the warm/dry end of the habitat scale and include classifications as both climax and seral vegetation.



Examples of climax forest habitat types where common snowberry is a subdominant include ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) [3]. Common snowberry is considered a mid- to late-seral subdominant with ponderosa pine on floodplains in Oregon [68]. Also in Oregon, common snowberry is considered subdominant to Douglas hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) in a climax tall shrub community type [10] and dominant in a community type with Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii) [67].



Species commonly associated with common snowberry include oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor) in California's hardwood rangelands [4], ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) in Oregon [63], bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) in south Dakota and eastern Wyoming [3], and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis) in eastern Washington [14].

References describing common snowberry as a community or habitat dominant or subdominant include:



Forest types of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex [2]

Steppe vegetation of Washington Daubenmire 1970 [28]

Ecology of curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius Nutt.) in eastern Oregon and adjacent areas [32]

Riparian dominance types of Montana [52]

Forest vegetation of the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota and Wyoming: a habitat type classification [59]

Riparian reference areas in Idaho: a catalog of plant associations and conservation sites [62]

Ecology and plant communities of the riparian areas associated with Catherine Creek in northeastern Oregon [67]

Vegetation of the Bald Hills oak woodlands, Redwood National Park, California [106]

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Life Form

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More info for the term: shrub

Shrub
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Management considerations

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More info for the terms: cover, severity

Common snowberry is browsed by cattle but is resistant to heavy browsing [23]. However, in a common snowberry-rose (Rosa spp.) community type in Oregon, common snowberry was reportedly browsed to elimination from the site [63]. On grazed sites in Idaho, common snowberry occupies at least 50% less crown space than on ungrazed sites [22]. Grazing capacity guidelines for some western Montana common snowberry community/habitat types are provided by Williams and others [117]. Common snowberry is sensitive to trampling and soil compaction [118].

Common snowberry responds moderately well after logging depending on site characteristics [8,43,46]. Seven years after logging in ponderosa pine in eastern Washington and Oregon, common snowberry had increased its coverage by 30% over its prelogging coverage [44]. It can be expected to increase in cover and form low thickets following logging and may provide shade to conifer seedlings during their early growth [50]. The expected response of common snowberry to clearcutting and low and high severity site preparation by fire or mechanical means is [81]:Mechanical
Fire
low high low high
+++ ++ ++ +
Where + equals increase and ++ equals an even greater increase.




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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Nutritional Value

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More info for the terms: forbs, shrubs

Common snowberry, like other shrubs, contains a higher percentage of crude protein during fall and winter than grasses or forbs, but lesser amounts during spring and summer. Leaves of common snowberry contain a higher percentage of crude protein than stems. Tips of leaves contain higher protein levels than thicker mid and butt sections [35]. Information presented in the following table is from [35] and is based on seasonal nutritional levels for common snowberry
in the Black Hills of South Dakota:






Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter



Leaves
Stems
Leaves
Stems
Leaves
Stems
Leaves

Crude protein1

13.1
6.80
10.7
4.20
5.60
5.10
5.20

Carbohydrate components1
ADF2
18.3
39.1
20.1
47.8
24.4
48.7
50.0

ADL3
7.50
11.0
8.50
---
11.4
17.0
20.5

Cell4
11.5
27.3
11.1
---
14.0
27.3
26.0

Ash1

6.20
5.90
6.20
3.90
6.50
4.40
5.00

Ca1

0.82
0.90
1.21
1.17
1.70
1.31
1.27

P1

0.35
0.22
0.31
0.13
0.35
0.14
0.15

Gross energy5

4,953
4,560
4,770
4,591
5,040
4,687
4,617


1 Percentage of oven-dried weight; 2 ADF = Acid-detergent fiber;
3 ADL = Acid-detergent lignin; 4Cell = Cellulose; 5 Calories/gram

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Occurrence in North America

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AK
CA
CO
CT
DE
ID
IL
IN
IA
KS
KY
MD
MA
MI
MN
MT
NE
NH
NJ
NM

NY
ND
OH
OR
PA
RI
SD
TN
UT
VT

VA
WA
WV
WI
WY
DC







AB
BC
MB
NB
NF
NT
NS
ON
PE
PQ

SK
YK

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Other uses and values

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More info for the terms: fresh, fruit

Common snowberry fruit was eaten fresh but was not favored by Native Americans in Washington and Oregon. The fruits were also dried for winter use. Common snowberry was used on hair as soap, and the fruits and leaves mashed and applied to cuts or skin sores as a poultice and to soothe sore, runny eyes. Tea from the bark was used as a remedy for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. A brew made from the entire plant was used as a physic tonic. Arrowshafts and pipestems were made from the stems [51].

One source [47] reports eating the fruit of common snowberry has caused vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and in severe cases, unconsciousness in humans. There are no reports of poisoning in animals and no definite information on the toxic constituent.

Because of its decorative white fruits, common snowberry has been used extensively as an ornamental [38,47].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Palatability

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Palatability of common snowberry to livestock and wildlife varies, and there are differing reports of palatability within an area (see discussion about forage value of common snowberry for elk in Importance to Livestock and Wildlife above). The degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for common snowberry is rated as follows [10,22,23,37,53,57,60,61,84,85,98,102,108,109,110]:





MT
ID
ND
OR

Cattle
poor-fair
poor-fair
---
good

Domestic sheep
fair-good
fair-good
---
---

Horses
poor
poor
---
---

Moose
poor-good
poor
---
---

Pronghorn
fair
---
---
---

Bighorn sheep
good
good
---
---

Elk
fair-good
fair
---
---

Mule deer
fair
---
fair-good
---

White-tailed deer
fair-good
---
fair
fair

Small mammals
fair
fair-good
---
fair

Small game birds
fair
---
---
---

Upland game birds
fair
good
---
good

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Phenology

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More info for the terms: fruit, phenology, seed, shrub

Common snowberry initiates budding in early May in the northern Rocky Mountains. This budding can be delayed a month in Canada and Alaska or happen a month early in the Southwest depending on elevation and weather conditions. Leaves are full grown about 1 month after emergence. Flowers appear any time from May to August and may be present as late as September. Peak flowering time is June and July. Fruit ripening times are also variable, but typically occur during late August and early September, coinciding closely with leaf fall [50]. The fruits of this shrub commonly remain on the plant over winter [104].

Phenology for common snowberry east of the Continental Divide in Montana and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, is [95]: Leaf buds burst Leaves full grown Flowers start Flowers end Fruits ripe Seed fall starts Leaves start to color Leaves start to fall Leaves fallen Average date May 6 June
14 July
4 July
22 Sept. 2 Sept. 14 Aug. 28 Sept. 9 Sept. 30 Earliest Apr. 10 May
17 June
4 June
10 Aug. 7 Aug. 16 July
20 July
23 Aug. 28 Latest June 7 July
10 Aug.
11 Aug.
21 Oct. 9 Oct. 14 Sep. 25 Oct. 15 Oct. 30
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the terms: cover, fire severity, frequency, fruit, rhizome, severity

Common snowberry, as a rhizomatous sprouter, is among the first to recolonize a site after fire [77]. Growth in the 1st postfire year varies, but is generally considered to be good. With light to moderate soil disturbance, sprouting will return common snowberry coverage in a year [36] and common snowberry may produce fruit the 1st year [16]. Sprout height can reach one-half to three-fourths of prefire stem height in the 1st year and equal prefire height in 4 years [84]. Another source [36] states common snowberry will grow 1 foot (0.3 m) the 1st year. Cover and volume measurements consistently exceed prefire values the 2nd year [84] and canopy cover of common snowberry increases rapidly to a maximum in 3 to 5 years after a fire and may maintain this increased coverage [23,80]. Fire severity and soil moisture content at time of burning may determine damage to the rhizome and root system of common snowberry and be responsible for variation in recovery response [52].

On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, common snowberry cover and frequency were higher on sites that had been thinned 6 years previously than on prescribed burned, thinned-and-burned, or control sites. Common snowberry was determined to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P≤0.05). For further information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments on common snowberry and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and others' [120] study.

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Post-fire Regeneration

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More info for the terms: rhizome, shrub

Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Regeneration Processes

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A common snowberry rhizome sprout.

Common snowberry can regenerate by seeds, but rhizomes are the primary method of reproduction [50,104]. Rhizomes are occasionally connected in a mass of woody tissue from which multiple stems can regenerate; however, separate rhizomes are usually produced from which single stems arise [17]. Rhizomes sprout after fire or other disturbance kills the top of the plant [64,77,103] and can vary from site to site depending on conditions [64,77,84]. Plants sprouting from rhizomes are among the first to recolonize a site after a fire [64,103] and will often produce fruit the 1st growing season [16]. The rhizome sprout pictured above came from a 3-year-old common snowberry in a garden at the Fire Sciences Laboratory. The rhizome was 6.5-foot (2.0 m) long, and the sprout was 2 feet (0.6 m) tall (Fryer 2011, personal observation).

Seed banks of common snowberry were analyzed in a postfire study [80], but the literature contains very little about postfire regeneration from seed. One study in an east-central Washington ponderosa pine/common snowberry community found common snowberry sprouted from roots, rhizomes, underground organs, or other perennial plant parts, but did not establish from seeds [87]. The seeds of this shrub are commonly dispersed by birds after they eat the fruit [104].

Common snowberry seeds will sprout in a nursery setting [54,78,96]. However, nutlets of common snowberry are extremely difficult to germinate because they have a hard, tough, impermeable covering and only a partially developed embryo [38].

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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border

2 Cascade Mountains

3 Southern Pacific Border

4 Sierra Mountains

5 Columbia Plateau

6 Upper Basin and Range

8 Northern Rocky Mountains

9 Middle Rocky Mountains

10 Wyoming Basin

11 Southern Rocky Mountains

12 Colorado Plateau

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14 Great Plains

15 Black Hills Uplift

16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Successional Status

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Common snowberry occurs in early, mid-, and late successional stages and as a climax species. It is considered part of the climax community in the ponderosa pine/common snowberry habitat type in Idaho [101] and with Douglas-fir in warm dry habitat types [7]. It is late seral in ponderosa pine/ninebark habitat type in Idaho [101]. In thinleaf alder (Alnus incana)/common snowberry plant associations in Oregon, it is considered mid-seral [68]. It is included in early seral stages of 2 western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) habitat types in Idaho [119].

In general, common snowberry is a shrub characterized by survival through rhizomes. If it is on a site prior to disturbance, it will be become established in the initial postdisturbance year and may dominate early succession [71].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Taxonomy

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The scientific name of common snowberry is Symphoricarpos albus (L.) Blake (Caprifoliaceae) [58,66]. The 2 recognized varieties are [56,58,66,116]:


Symphoricarpos albus var. albus

Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus (Fern.) Blake
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

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More info for the terms: fruit, reclamation, stratification

Common snowberry has large ecological amplitude. Because of this amplitude, it has been widely used in rehabilitation of disturbed sites. Common snowberry does best when large 1-0 or 2-0 stock is planted [86]. It is not recommended for use on sites that have been "extremely" disturbed [52,53,82].

Seeds of common snowberry, held within nutlets, should be collected during the fall or winter by stripping the fruit [38] and then separated from the fruit by using a rubbing board when the fruit has dried [54]. Once separated from the fruit, seeds will remain viable for 7-10 years if stored properly [96]. Highest germination rates (74 to 87%) have been obtained by a 20- to 91-day warm stratification period followed by a cold stratification period of 60 to 300 days [38,96].

Common snowberry has fair seedling establishment rates [86,99] and good survival rates once established [40,86,99]. It has been used extensively in rehabilitation of riparian sites and has excellent bank stability properties [20,21,52,53,86]. Properties that make it a good choice for bank stabilization also provide good soil stability for erosion control [74,86,99]. Common snowberry has been used for reclamation of tailings sand after extraction of oil [40] and on mining sites with acidic, steep tailings [89,113].
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McWilliams, Jack. 2000. Symphoricarpos albus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/symalb/all.html

Symphoricarpos albus

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Symphoricarpos albus is a species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family known by the common name common snowberry.[2] It is native to North America, where it occurs across much of Canada and the northern and western United States.[3][4]

Symphoricarpos albus grows in shady and moist mountain and forest habitat, in woodlands and on floodplains and riverbanks. It can grow in a wide variety of habitat types.[5] It is naturalized in parts of Britain, where it has been planted as an ornamental and a cover for game.[6]

Symphoricarpos albus is an erect, deciduous shrub, producing a stiff, branching main stem and often several smaller shoots from a rhizome. It can spread and colonize an area to form a dense thicket.[5] It reaches 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) in maximum height. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the spreading branches. They are generally oval, differing in size and shape, and up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long, or slightly larger on the shoots. The inflorescence is a raceme of up to 16 flowers. Each flower has a small, five-toothed calyx of sepals. The bell-shaped, rounded corolla is about 0.5 cm (0.20 in) long and bright pink in color. It has pointed lobes at the mouth and the inside is filled with white hairs. The fruit is a fleshy white berry-like drupe about a centimeter wide which contains two seeds. The plant sometimes reproduces via seed but it is primarily vegetative, reproducing by sprouting from its spreading rhizome.[5] Birds disperse the seeds after they eat the fruit.[5]

This shrub is an important food source for a number of animals, including bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, and grizzly bears.[5] Livestock such as cattle and sheep readily browse it.[5] Many birds and small mammals use it for food and cover.[5] Pocket gophers dig burrows underneath it during the winter.[5] The fruit and shrub itself are poisonous to humans, causing vomiting.[7]

Native Americans used the plant as a medicine and a soap, and sometimes for food, and the wood was good for arrow shafts.[5] In Russia, the berries are crushed in the hands and rubbed about for a soothing folk-remedy hand lotion.

This shrub is used for erosion control in riparian areas, and it is planted in ecological restoration projects on disturbed sites such as abandoned mines.[5] Its white fruits and blue-green foliage made it popular as an ornamental plant[5] planted around old houses of the 1890s through the 1920s like with the Vanhoutte Spirea or Bridalwreath. It is still sold by some large diverse conventional nurseries and native plant nurseries, and occasionally found in modern landscapes. It grows in full sun to full light shade and a well-drained soil that is slightly acid to well alkaline, pH range of about 6.0 to 8.5. it is easy to transplant with its fibrous, shallow root system. Good for USDA hardiness zones of 2 to 7.

Varieties

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S. albus var. laevigatus

There are two varieties:

  • S. albus var. albus, native to eastern North America
  • S. albus var. laevigatus, native to the Pacific coast. It is a larger shrub, up to 2 m (6.6 ft) tall, and with slightly larger fruit. It is treated as a distinct species, Symphoricarpos rivularis, by some botanists.

References

  1. ^ "Symphoricarpos albus". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ "Symphoricarpos albus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Symphoricarpos albus". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  4. ^ Jones, George Neville (1940). "A monograph of the genus Symphoricarpos". Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 21 (2): 214–218.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McWilliams, Jack (2000). "Symphoricarpos albus". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory – via https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/.
  6. ^ Gilbert, O. L. (1995). "Symphoricarpos albus (L.) S. F. Blake (S. rivularis Suksd., S. racemosus Michaux)". Journal of Ecology. 83 (1): 159–66. doi:10.2307/2261160. JSTOR 2261160.
  7. ^ Lewis, Walter H. (1979-12-14). "Snowberry (Symphoricarpos) Poisoning in Children". JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 242 (24): 2663. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300240009006. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 501855.

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Symphoricarpos albus: Brief Summary

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Symphoricarpos albus is a species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family known by the common name common snowberry. It is native to North America, where it occurs across much of Canada and the northern and western United States.

Symphoricarpos albus grows in shady and moist mountain and forest habitat, in woodlands and on floodplains and riverbanks. It can grow in a wide variety of habitat types. It is naturalized in parts of Britain, where it has been planted as an ornamental and a cover for game.

Symphoricarpos albus is an erect, deciduous shrub, producing a stiff, branching main stem and often several smaller shoots from a rhizome. It can spread and colonize an area to form a dense thicket. It reaches 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) in maximum height. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the spreading branches. They are generally oval, differing in size and shape, and up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long, or slightly larger on the shoots. The inflorescence is a raceme of up to 16 flowers. Each flower has a small, five-toothed calyx of sepals. The bell-shaped, rounded corolla is about 0.5 cm (0.20 in) long and bright pink in color. It has pointed lobes at the mouth and the inside is filled with white hairs. The fruit is a fleshy white berry-like drupe about a centimeter wide which contains two seeds. The plant sometimes reproduces via seed but it is primarily vegetative, reproducing by sprouting from its spreading rhizome. Birds disperse the seeds after they eat the fruit.

This shrub is an important food source for a number of animals, including bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, and grizzly bears. Livestock such as cattle and sheep readily browse it. Many birds and small mammals use it for food and cover. Pocket gophers dig burrows underneath it during the winter. The fruit and shrub itself are poisonous to humans, causing vomiting.

Native Americans used the plant as a medicine and a soap, and sometimes for food, and the wood was good for arrow shafts. In Russia, the berries are crushed in the hands and rubbed about for a soothing folk-remedy hand lotion.

This shrub is used for erosion control in riparian areas, and it is planted in ecological restoration projects on disturbed sites such as abandoned mines. Its white fruits and blue-green foliage made it popular as an ornamental plant planted around old houses of the 1890s through the 1920s like with the Vanhoutte Spirea or Bridalwreath. It is still sold by some large diverse conventional nurseries and native plant nurseries, and occasionally found in modern landscapes. It grows in full sun to full light shade and a well-drained soil that is slightly acid to well alkaline, pH range of about 6.0 to 8.5. it is easy to transplant with its fibrous, shallow root system. Good for USDA hardiness zones of 2 to 7.

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