Snowberry on gray, Apgar, Glacier National Park

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) clinging to the last days of summer

Apgar Lookout Trail, Glacier National Park, MT
October 9, 2015
Robert Niese

While brilliant fall colors are normally the highlight of dreary October days here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s also something to be said about the subtle beauty of bare branches. These ghostly grays criss-crossing in a spider web of angles and arcs provide an enchanting, textured backdrop in a world that is slowly dying and preparing for winter.

Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos albus “Snowberry” Caprifoliaceae

Mt. Sentinel, Lolo National Forest, MT
September 12, 2015
Robert Niese

Snowberry is one of our most abundant understory plants here in the eastern PNW. It’s so abundant that I often completely forget about it, and, in spite of cataloging PNW plants and animals for over six years, I have yet to get a photograph of this plant at all its phenological stages. Well, here’s Snowberry in fruit – its most recognizable life stage. These berries are not edible to humans, but are important food sources for winter birds such as grouse and ptarmigans.