Shrub 1 - 2 m tall Leaves: opposite, dull grayish green, 2 - 5 cm long, egg-shaped to oval, sometimes lobed, usually hairless beneath. Flowers: in pairs or in small clusters. Corolla five-lobed, pinkish white, 5 - 8 mm long, bell-shaped, swollen on one side. Lobes half as long or equal to tube. Fruit: berry-like (drupe), in clusters, white, 1 - 1.5 cm long, waxy. There are two stones inside each drupe. Twigs: hollow, finely hairy or hairless when young.
Similar species: Symphoricarpos occidentalis is similar but has stalkless flowers with styles exserted from the corolla. Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is also similar but has smaller, greenish to purplish corollas (to 4 mm long) and drupes that are coral-pink to purple. The leaves of typical S. albus are hairy beneath.
Flowering: June to July
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from farther west. A rare escape from cultivation. Has been found in waste ground.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Symphoricarpos comes from the Greek words symphoreo, meaning "born together," and karpos, meaning fruit (in reference to the clustered fruits). Albus means white. Laevigatus means smooth.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This species is commonly planted as an ornamental shrub and has been reported as an escape in Franklin, Jefferson, and Steuben Counties and in the Lower Wabash Valley. I have found it twice as an escape.