Symphoricarpos ciliatus Nutt.
Symphoricarpos mollis is a deciduous shrub with trailing stems 30 - 180cm long; it can grow up to 60cm tall[
]. The plant spreads via rhizomes to form a colony of stems[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. It can be used to stabilize the soil and is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
Saponin in the leaves of creeping snowberry could be toxic to livestock and wildlife, but no ill effects have been reported on Western ranges[
The fruits of all species in this genus contain the mildly toxic compounds calcium oxalate and saponins. Eating them, especially in larger quantities can cause vomiting and diarrhoea[
Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish and make them easy to catch[
Western N. America - British Colombia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California.
Most commonly found on dry, sunny slopes, although it can occur in shady, mesic communities as well; at elevations from 300 - 2,000 metres[
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Symphoricarpos mollis favours maritime and submaritime climates with mild to cold winters, warm summers and moderate precipitation[
The plant grows best in moderate to full sunlight. It is found in the wild on coarse sands and gravels, sandy alluvium deposits, as well as fine sandy-loam and silt loams, and moderately deep floodplains and terraces[
The plant is usually top-killed by fire. Some consider it to be a weak sprouter after fire because the rhizomes are often quite shallow and those in the humus layer can be destroyed[
Traditionally, Native Americans crushed the leaves of creeping snowberry and applied them as a poultice to treat sores and wounds[
The bark has been boiled and drunk as a remedy for tuberculosis and venereal disease[
Creeping snowberry is useful for erosion control because of its rhizomes[
Stems an be used for making arrows and smoking pipes[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months warm then 5 months cold stratification[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Cuttings of mature wood, 15 - 25cm long preferably with a heel, in a sheltered bed outdoors in winter. High percentage[
Division of suckers in winter. They can be planted straight into their permanent positions.