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Symphoricarpos (L.) Symphoricarpos - sym - together, phoro - supports or carries other parts, carpos - fruit.

Family: Honeysuckle

Common names: snowberry / buckbrush / wolfberry/ western snowberry / ghost saskatoon

This prairie shrub occurs in North America from Alaska to New Mexico. In North America the genus includes upwards to 15 closely related dwarf or medium thicket-forming deciduous shrubs. Snow-berries have been used in wildlife plantings and is being grown as ornamentals: it is ideal for tree underplantings. It can be shaped at a level of 3 feet, which creates a large dense surface. In full sun it will produce more white or pink berries, which remain on the shrub for many weeks well into late fall to mid winter.

Symphoricarpos will thrive in sun or shade, in sheltered gardens or as plantings in open areas. The fruit is a berry-like drupe [single seed enclosed by a bony coat]. Each contains 2 nutlets. These are flattened on one side and are composed of a tough small embryo. The nutlets are used as seeds.

Not only is this attractive shrub an attractive addition to your yard, but a 'growing historic' mainstay of the Blood and Cree plains people. The leaves were steeped to make a wash for sore eyes. Slender twigs used as arrow shafts, and the entire plant used for brooms. The fruit was boiled and given to horses as a diuretic. Twigs or branches were burned and the charcoal was used to blacken surfaces of new pipes, which were then greased with animal fat then polished with a small piece of skin. You may even consider growing a patch of sweet grass to extol the virtues of our native Symphoricarpos.



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