Symphoricarpos albusI have been aware of this deciduous shrub for a couple of years now, but have only recently identified it. I give thanks to ‘Colour in the winter garden’ by Graham Stuart Thomas, who has included this plant in his wonderful book, first published in the UK in 1957. It truly is a great resource and I recommend it to everyone, especially those who believe winter time to be bleak and without colour or seasonal interest.

The small bell-like pink flowers always remind me of prawns and the white berries made in the autumn make me think of white maltesers. Not only do I have plants on the brain, but food too! These white berries are beautiful and they can be seen adorning our roadsides and gardens throughout winter. They illuminate against the dark backdrop of trees and shrubs during the low light levels of winter and always look so enchanting.

About the plant
Botanical name: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus
Other names: Common snowberry
Genus: Symphoricarpos
Species: S. albus var. laevigatus – S. albus var. laevigatus is a thicket-forming, deciduous shrub with upright, arching shoots bearing oval to oblong, dark green leaves and, in summer, small, bell-shaped pink flowers followed by spherical, pure white fruit.
Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus is: Deciduous
Flower: Pink in Summer
Foliage: Dark-green in Spring; Dark-green in Autumn
Fruit: White in Autumn
Habit: Arching, Upright
Toxicity: Fruits can cause a mild stomach upset if ingested.

This plant makes a beautiful hedge, although it’s deciduous the berries really bring a great show to any passer-by and if planted in front of deep green or black stemmed evergreens, these luminescent white berries are beautiful and not just to me, birds love them too!

If you would like to discuss a new planting scheme in your garden, please do feel free to get in touch with me, my email is For gardening maintenance enquiries (North-East London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Enfield) please telephone 07818 005773. Always happy to answer gardening questions if I can or steer you towards resources. Happy gardening 2012!