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The Snowberry Shrub in Landscaping and Gardens

The common snowberry is a popular shrub in landscaping and gardens due to its decorative white fruit. The snowberry bush is also very tolerant of trimming and can be grown as a medium to tall hedge.

The western snowberry is part of the honeysuckle family. The snowberry shrub grows up to three feet in height and spreads through rhizomes, forming colonies of fruit-bearing plants. The flowers are white to light pink at the end of twigs and upper leaf axils.

Snowberries are an important source of winter food for birds including quail, pheasant and grouse. They are a famine food for humans due to their bitterness and the presence of saponins in the berries. Saponins, a substance also found in many beans, can be destroyed by cooking.

Saponins are quite toxic to some animals such as fish. Native Americans put large quantities of snowberries in streams and lakes as a fishing technique to stupefy or kill fish. An infusion of the roots has also been used for inflamed or weak eyes and to aid in convalescence after childbirth. The branches of the snowberry bush can also be made into brooms.

Snowberry plants have extensive root systems are can be used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes. They grow in open prairies and along streams and lakes in Montana, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Minnesota and Canada. They can likewise be used in landscaping to reinforce sloped areas and soil around water features.

Try the versatile and attractive snowberry bush to add a decorative and practical plant to your landscaping plans!