oreophilus A. Gray
Life Span: Perennial
snowberry is a low growing, erect and sometimes trailing mountain
shrub, with spreading to arching branches. It averages 2 to 4 feet
in height, but plants on good sites can grow up to 5 feet. Reproduction
is by seed and sometimes by layering.
are white or pink, bell shaped, ¼ to ½ inch long.
Found solitary or in pairs.
Fruits are small, light green to white berries, up to ½ inch
and short stalked. Round, elliptical, or thin oval shaped. Top of
leaf is usually slightly hairy. Underside of leaves has a gray to
whitish hair, and five prominent veins.
twigs usually lacking hairs, but occasionally densely hairy. Older
twigs have reddish-brown shreddy bark. buds are light brown.
occurs on the edges of riparian zones, in woodlands, and in moist
areas of the mountain brush zone, at elevations between 4,800 and
in sandy loam to clay loam soils. Does not tolerate much alkalinity
pine, Douglas fir, aspen,
of its abundance and wide distribution, mountain snowberry is an
important source of forage on many mountain ranges. Although not
highly nutritious or palatable, mountain snowberry is frequently
one of the first species to leaf out, making it a highly sought
after food in the early spring. Use by livestock and big game is
moderate throughout the summer and declines in fall. Small mammals
and birds utilize the fruits. Mountain snowberry's low growth form
makes its foliage easily available. Plants withstand browsing well
and produce numerous basal sprouts following browsing.
Due to its rhizomatous nature, Mountain snowberry is useful for
revegetation of disturbed sites such as road cuts, landscape and
recreational plantings, wildlife habitat improvement, and increasing
biodiversity on moist sites.
Native Americans used the fruits as an ematic and laxative, and
steeped the roots to treat colds and stomachaches.