North American natives. The various plants described here are upright or arching, typically 26 ft. high and wide, often spreading by root suckers. Most are best used as informal hedges or as wild thickets for erosion control on steep banks. Clusters of small pink or white flowers in spring or early summer. Attractive round, berrylike fruit remains on stems after leaves drop in autumn; looks nice in winter arrangements, attracts birds. Plants are not usually damaged by browsing deer.
S. albus (S. racemosus). COMMON SNOWBERRY. Native from California to Alaska, east to Montana. Roundish, dull green, 34- to 2-in.-long leaves (to 4 in. and often lobed on sucker shoots). Pink flowers are followed by white fruit from late summer to winter. Produces most fruit in full sun but takes shade. Not a first-rate shrub but useful for its tolerance of poor soil, lower light, general neglect.
S. x chenaultii. Hybrid between S. orbiculatus and a species from Mexico. Bears inch-long, blue-green leaves, greenish white flowers, and red fruit lightly spotted with white. Can take full sun in cooler climates; needs partial or full shade in hot areas. 'Hancock' is a foot-high dwarf valued as woodland ground or bank cover.
S. x doorenbosii. This hybrid was developed from S. orbiculatus, S. x chenaultii, and a selection of S. albus. Rounded habit to about 5 ft. high, spreading at least as wide by runners. Broadly oval, pointed leaves to 112 in. long are dark green above, lighter green beneath. Greenish white flowers are followed by clusters of 12-in., pink-tinged white fruit. Sun or shade. 'Magic Berry' is a compact, spreading plant with rosy pink fruit; 'Mother of Pearl' has a somewhat drooping habit and pink-cheeked white fruit. Stiffly upright 'White Hedge' bears white fruit in clusters that are held mainly above the foliage.
S. orbiculatus (S. vulgaris). CORALBERRY, INDIAN CURRANT. From eastern U.S. Resembles S. albus but bears white or pink-tinged flowers followed by small purplish red fruit. Fruit is bright and plentiful enough to provide a good fall-into-winter show. Full sun. 'Foliis Variegatis' ('Variegatus') has leaves edged in creamy white.