Mountain Snowberry

  • Scientific name: Symphoricarpos oreophilus
  • Highly sought after food in the early spring
  • Does not tolerate much alkalinity or salinity
  • Occurs with ponderosa, fir, aspen and chokecherry
  • Important source of forage on many mountain ranges
  • Important cover for deer and elk

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

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Mountain Snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus) is a low growing, erect and sometimes trailing mountain shrub, with spreading to arching branches. It averages 2 to 4 feet in height, but plants on good sites can grow up to 5 feet. Reproduction is by seed and sometimes by layering. Flowers are white or pink, bell shaped, ¼ to ½ inch long. Found solitary or in pairs. Fruits are small, light green to white berries, up to ½ inch long.

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus) occurs on the edges of riparian zones, in woodlands, and in moist areas of the mountain brush zone, at elevations between 4,800 and 10,500 feet. Occurs in sandy loam to clay loam soils. Does not tolerate much alkalinity or salinity. Commonly occurs with ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, aspen and chokecherry.

Because of its abundance and wide distribution, mountain snowberry is an important source of forage on many mountain ranges. Although not highly nutritious or palatable, mountain snowberry is frequently one of the first species to leaf out, making it a highly sought after food in the early spring. Use by livestock and big game is moderate throughout the summer and declines in fall. Small mammals and birds utilize the fruits. Mountain snowberry’s low growth form makes its foliage easily available. Plants withstand browsing well and produce numerous basal sprouts following browsing.Due to its rhizomatous nature, Mountain snowberry is useful for revegetation of disturbed sites such as road cuts, landscape and recreational plantings, wildlife habitat improvement, and increasing biodiversity on moist sites. Native Americans used the fruits as an emetic and laxative, and steeped the roots to treat colds and stomachaches.

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(Symphoricarpos albus)

Snowberry NRCS Plant Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By: Jammie Favorite, Formerly, USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Species Coordinator: Lincoln M. Moore, Formerly USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Mountain Snowberry
  • Symphoricarpos oreophilus A.

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Min. Precipitation

12 Inches Minimum

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