Identification of Mystery Plant with White Berries

“I need the name of a small growing tree ..about 10 ft tall?
I have a small tree in the back yard that has flowers like a Rowan tree, with a leaf similar to Mock orange and bears WHITE berries clustered like that of a Mountain Ash, But I don’t know the name of it. Can anyone help me?. I’d post a photo but I can’t see how it’s done on something like this. ~thardy”


Dear thardy,

Thank you for posting your question on my blog.  It is hard to make a 100% positive identification without seeing a photo of the plant.  However, based on your description, it sounds like you have a Wolfberry or Western Snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis).


Now this is not to be confused with another plant that is commonly known as a Wolfberry or Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum).

Western snowberry is a low to medium height shrub from 30-100 cm high with opposite leaves that spreads readily via rhizomes to form dense stands. The young twigs are typically covered with tiny, fine hairs although glabrous stems may be present too. The leaf blades are broadly elliptic or ovate and measure 2.5-8 cm long and from 1.5-5 cm wide. The leaf margins range from entire to having a few large, blunt, irregular teeth. The blades are typically glabrous above while containing short hairs on the ventral surface, especially on the major veins. The petioles range from 3-10 mm long.

The inflorescences consist of short, compact racemes at the ends of the branches. The corolla measures 5-8 mm long and is typically wider than long. The lobes of the corolla spread widely and are as long as or longer than the widely flaring tube. The inner surface of the corolla tube is hairy, as is the midsection of the style which is exserted from the corolla and roughly 4-7 mm long. The anthers are shorter than the filaments and measure 1.5-2 mm long. The fruit is a whitish, subglobose berry from 6-9 mm long. As with other snowberries, the fruits should not be eaten as they are poisonous to humans.

Western snowberry may be found natively on open slopes, prairies and moist ground along streams or lakes.  It may be found from southern British Columbia south to northern Washington and east to Manitoba, Michigan or Missouri and then south through the Rocky Mts from Montana to Utah and New Mexico.







© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



One thought on “Identification of Mystery Plant with White Berries

  1. Thank you for your response. I would have posted a photo of the tree but I couldn’t see how to attach the photo. I did however get a positive identification for it.

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