Not to be confused with : Coralroot (Cardamine bulbifera) nor with
Coral Necklace (Illecebrum verticillatum) [plants with similar names belonging to a differing families]
Easily mis-identified as :
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus).
Chenault's Coralberry is the hybrid between : Snowberry (Symphoricarpos alba) and what appears to be an absent parent (Symphoricarpos microphyllus) of which Clive Stace says should be checked.
Hybridizes with :
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos obiculatus) to produce another garden variety
Doorenbos' Coralberry (Symphoricarpos × doorenbosii) which so far only grows wild in Kent, but which is also very similar with dual colour pink/white berries, but the most important difference between Chenault's Coralberry and
Doorenbos' Coralberry is that the latter lack white spots in the pink areas and pink dots in the white areas.
The difference between all four of these Symphoricarpos species is slight, and mainly a matter of the colour of the berries; whether they are totally white (Snowberry) (which suckers only from rhizomes; the other three suckering from the tips of shoots where they meet ground), totally pink (
Coralberry) or whether they are only pink where the sun impacts upon their surface (
Doorenbos' Coralberry or
Chenault's Coralberry. Other slight differences exist such as whether the undersides of the leaves are slightly hairy, or sparsely hairy. And this ignores the apparently absent fifth species said to be responsible for the emergence of
Doorenbos' Coralberry, namely Symphoricarpos microphyllus.
The leaf size, however, varies between species: Snowberry has the longest leaves [2-6mm (8mm)],
Chenault's Coralberry medium sized leaves [2 - 2.5cm long] and
Coralberry the shortest leaves [1-2cm long].
Needless to say, more species exist in the rest of the World, but are absent from the UK. However the elusive S. microphyllus species is not listed in Wikipedia Symphoricarpos (as of 9th Dec 2012).
As with other Symphoricarpos species the berries are poisonous and contain the Protopine IsoQuinoline alkaloid Chelidonine and other alkaloids. Ingesting the berries results in mild poisoning, the symptoms being vomiting, dizziness and slight drowsiness.