Not to be confused with : Snowdrop nor with
Snowflake, Snow-in-Summer, Snowy Mespil or Snowy Wood-Rush [plants with similar names]
Hybridizes with :
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) (which has all pink berries) to produce Chenault's Coralberry aka
Pink Snowberry (Symphoricarpos × chenaultii) which has berries that are white on the shaded side and pink on the sunlit side.
In addition, there is a double-hybrid: one between Chenault's Coralberry which is already a hybrid (see above) and Snowberry. This double hybrid is called
Doorenbos' Coralberry (Symphoricarpos albus × chenaultii). This continuous spectrum is called 'Doorenbos Hybrids' to gardeners.
Many similarities to :
Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) but that has all pink berries and to the hybrid between Sowberry and Coralberry which is called Chenault's Coralberry (Symphoricarpos × chenaulti) which have berries that are pink on one side only as opposed to the all-white berries of Snowberry. Of those three 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].
Uniquely identifiable characteristics
Distinguishing Feature : The marble-sized white berry and the small pink bell-shaped flowers.
It is non-native, a neophyte, which spreads readily by means of suckers and although it fruits easily the seeds rarely germinate. It displaces native species by forming thick and dense thickets through which little or no light permeates to ground level. The berries are eaten by birds but are poisonous to humans.
It is widely planted for hedging in urban areas and suburbs from where it can spread into any woodland areas, scrub, waste ground or along hedgerows, naturalising itself.
Snowberry is poisonous, containing saponins and traces of Chelidonine but so low as to not be the cause of the toxicity of the berries of Snowberry. Other compounds present include
Sitosterol saponins, and various other compounds, but the toxic component has not been identified. It seems likely that the toxicity is due to the saponins. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains and sleepiness. The sap can cause skin irritation.
Secologanin is a Secoiridoid Glycoside as is Loganin with a broken ring (the seco meaning it has a broken ring) and is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of both Indole and
Ipecac alkaloids within plants. [Ipecac alkaloids include