Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Western snowberry occurs from Northwest Territories, Canada, throughout most of the southern Canadian provinces and northern United States, south to Texas, but excluding most of the southeastern and southwestern states [23,35,56,58,60,78,84,90,100,161]. Plants Database  provides a distributional map of western snowberry.
  • 100. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 161. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61: Cranbrook Institute of Science; University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan. 622 p. [30401]
  • 23. Booth, W. E.; Wright, J. C. 1962. [Revised]. Flora of Montana: Part II--Dicotyledons. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College, Department of Botany and Bacteriology. 280 p. [47286]
  • 35. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 56. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 58. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 60. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 78. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 84. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]
  • 90. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798]

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: rhizome, shrub, shrubs

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [23,56,60,71,78,79,100,144,147,159,167]).

Western snowberry is a stiffly erect and freely branching shrub [35,79,144] that grows from 1 to 5 feet (0.3-1.5 m) tall [23,35,60,71,78,79,100,144,167] and commonly forms dense, low thickets [79,144]. When young, the branches are minutely hairy [60,71,100,167]. As shrubs mature, bark forms on the branches that becomes shreddy with age [144,147,159]. Leaves are deciduous, 0.8 to 3 inches (2-8 cm) long, and 0.6 to 2.2 inches (1-5.5 cm) wide [23,60,71,79,144,147,159,166,167]. Juvenile shoots sometimes produce larger leaves that are 4 inches (10 cm) long and 3 inches (8 cm) wide [60]. Flowers, born in racemes [35,79,167], occur in dense clusters of 2 to 10 at the end of branches and in the axils of leaves [60,71,100,117,144,165,166]. The fruits of western snowberry occur in crowded clusters and are berrylike drupes that each contain 2 nutlets [117,144]. Fruits are 6 to 9 millimeters in diameter, approximately 2.5 to 3.5 millimeters long, and 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters wide [35,60,71,79]

Colonies: Western snowberry forms dense colonies along ditches, streams, and floodplains; and in moist, open, grassy swales on mesas and plains [35,56,58,60,71,159,165,166,167]. Colonies range from 3 to 700 feet (1-200 m) or greater in diameter [25,83,117,122].

Rhizomes: Pelton [117] provides a detailed description of western snowberry rhizomes in 2 colonies in Minnesota. Western snowberry rhizomes tend to be very long and sparsely branched, and typically grow to a depth of 14 inches (35 cm). A rhizome from a 4-year-old plant at the periphery of a western snowberry colony measured 30 inches (80 cm) long, and roots from the rhizomes extended 5.09 feet (1.55 m) belowground. New sprouts from rhizomes develop in spring at approximately the same time shoots develop on older stems. In the first year of growth, new sprouts commonly attain the same height of mature stems and sometimes produce "abundant" fruit. Rhizome sprouts are generally reproductively mature for several years before the rhizome connection with the parent plant severs or decays. Rhizomes in the interior of one colony were approximately 20 years old [117].

  • 100. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 122. Ranson-Nelson, Theresa; Kirby, Don. 1984. Ecology of western snowberry in the Missouri Coteau. Proceedings, North Dakota Academy of Science. 38(38): 84. [67735]
  • 144. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 147. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 159. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 165. Weber, William A. 1987. Colorado flora: western slope. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press. 530 p. [7706]
  • 166. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 167. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 23. Booth, W. E.; Wright, J. C. 1962. [Revised]. Flora of Montana: Part II--Dicotyledons. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College, Department of Botany and Bacteriology. 280 p. [47286]
  • 25. Bowes, G. G.; Spurr, D. T. 1995. Improved forage production following western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.) control with metsulfuron methyl. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 75(4): 935-940. [67130]
  • 35. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 56. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 58. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 60. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 71. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press, Inc. 666 p. [6851]
  • 78. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 79. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 83. Jones, George Neville. 1940. A monograph of the genus Symphoricarpos. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 21: 201-253. [13499]

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: density, shrub

Western snowberry is commonly found in riparian areas such as alluvial floodplain terraces, upland ravines, swale-like depressions, and along streams and rivers [35,41,42,43,71,78,79,167]. It is also common in open deciduous woods, open prairies, rocky bluffs, pastures, and along roadsides and railway embankments [41,42,43,60,71,73,78,79,144,147,159].

Climate: Western snowberry occurs in continental-type climates characterized by extreme temperature ranges and light to moderate precipitation [32,117]. Western snowberry is adapted to survive moderate drought conditions [163,164].

Extensive climatic data are available for the aspen parklands of central Canada [18] and the prairie province mixed grasslands [31,32,34] where western snowberry is common.

Elevation: The elevational range of western snowberry by state or province is presented below.

Elevation range of western snowberry
State/province Elevation (feet)
Colorado 3,500-8,500 [71,134]
Montana 1,950-4,000 [70]
New Mexico 5,000-8,500 [100]
North Dakota 800-1,800 [174]
South Dakota 4,125-7,000 [21,115]
Utah 1,525-7,000 [58,167]
Wyoming 7,525-9,900 [48]
Alberta 2,000-4,685 [4,169]

Grasslands: Western snowberry is a common shrub component in mixed-grass prairies. In a mixed-grass prairie in The Gap Community Pasture near Regina, Saskatchewan, density of western snowberry was significantly (P<0.05) lower in plots with "low" water availability than in plots with "normal" to "high" water availability [88].

Invasive species: In Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the effect of leafy spurge on species richness was estimated in floodplain communities where western snowberry is an indicator species. Species richness was 19% lower in infested sites than in noninfested sites [29].

Soil: Western snowberry occurs on most soil textures except for loose sands [63]. On floodplains where it occurs, alluvial soils are generally fine textured, composed primarily of silt with moderate quantities of clay and fine sand [63]. It may also occur on infertile sand or rocky substrates, rich loams, or compact clays [117,126,164]. It can tolerate "imperfectly" drained soils and considerable flooding but is intolerant of prolonged flooding or permanent high water tables. Western snowberry is common on mildly alkaline to slightly acidic soils [22,67,164].

Detailed analyses of soils where western snowberry occurs in Minnesota [117], eastern North Dakota [124], wooded draws of the southern Great Plains [160], and southwestern North Dakota [55] are available.

Topography: In the more humid parts of its range, western snowberry occurs on drier topographic sites such as exposed bluffs, open hillsides, and south and west facing slopes. In drier areas, western snowberry is most commonly found on moister sites such as depressions, ravines, the shores of lakes and sloughs, along stream banks and floodplains, at the base of steep slopes susceptible to runoff, and on north or east facing slopes [117].

  • 100. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 115. Pase, Charles P. 1958. Herbage production and composition under immature ponderosa pine stands in the Black Hills. Journal of Range Management. 11: 238-243. [1823]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 124. Redmann, R. E. 1972. Plant communities and soils of an eastern North Dakota prairie. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 99(2): 65-76. [3639]
  • 126. Reed, Merton J.; Peterson, Roald A. 1961. Vegetation, soil, and cattle responses to grazing on northern Great Plains range. Tech. Bull. 1252. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 79 p. [4286]
  • 134. Rydberg, Per Axel. 1906. Flora of Colorado. Bulletin 100. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 448 p. [63874]
  • 144. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 147. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 159. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 160. Voorhees, Marguerite E.; Uresk, Daniel W. 1992. Relating soil chemistry and plant relationships in wooded draws of the northern Great Plains. The Great Basin Naturalist. 52(1): 35-40. [19476]
  • 163. Walker, Scott C. [In press]. Symphoricarpos Duham.--snowberry, [Online]. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Nisley, Rebecca G.; Karrfait, R. P., coords. Woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handbook 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Producer). Available: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Symphoricarpos.pdf [2007, September 18]. [45112]
  • 164. Watson, L. E.; Parker, R. W.; Polster, D. F. 1980. Manual of plant species suitability for reclamation in Alberta. Vol. 2: Forbs, shrubs and trees. RRTAC 80-5. Edmonton, AB: Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 537 p. [8855]
  • 167. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 169. Willms, W. D.; Smoliak, S.; Dormaar, J. F. 1985. Effects of stocking rate on a rough fescue grassland vegetation. Journal of Range Management. 38(3): 220-225. [2570]
  • 174. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W.; Thompson, Rita P. 1978. The role and use of fire in the Great Plains: A-state-of-the-art-review. In: Linne, James M., ed. BLM guidelines for prairie/plains plant communities to incorporate fire use/management into activity plans and fire use plans. In: Prairie prescribed burning symposium and workshop: Proceedings; 1978 April 25-28; Jamestown, ND. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: VIII-1 to VIII-39. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [13614]
  • 18. Bird, Ralph D. 1930. Biotic communities of the aspen parkland of central Canada. Ecology. 11(2): 356-442. [15277]
  • 21. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1984. Effects of fires on woody vegetation in the pine-grassland ecotone of the southern Black Hills. The American Midland Naturalist. 112(1): 35-42. [477]
  • 22. Boggs, Keith; Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in northwestern Montana. Draft Version 1. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 217 p. [8447]
  • 29. Butler, Jack L.; Cogan, Daniel R. 2004. Leafy spurge effects on patterns of plant species richness. Journal of Range Management. 57(3): 305-311. [49818]
  • 31. Campbell, J. B.; Lodge, R. W.; Johnston, A.; Smoliak, S. 1962. Range management of grasslands and adjacent parklands in the Prairie Provinces. Publ. 1133. Ottawa: Canada Department of Agriculture, Research Branch. 32 p. [595]
  • 32. Clarke, S. E.; Tisdale, E. W.; Skoglund, N. A. 1943. The effects of climate and grazing practices on short-grass prairie vegetation in southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. Technical Bulletin No. 46/Publication No. 747. Ottawa, ON: Ministry of Agriculture. 53 p. [635]
  • 34. Coupland, Robert T. 1950. Ecology of mixed prairie in Canada. Ecological Monographs. 20(4): 271-315. [700]
  • 35. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 4. Anderson, Howard G.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1980. Effects of annual burning on grassland in the aspen parkland of east-central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 985-996. [3499]
  • 41. Dorn, Robert D. 1977. Flora of the Black Hills. Cheyenne, WY: Robert D. Dorn and Jane L. Dorn. 377 p. [820]
  • 42. Dorn, Robert D. 1984. Vascular plants of Montana. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing. 276 p. [819]
  • 43. Dorn, Robert D. 1988. Vascular plants of Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing. 340 p. [6129]
  • 48. Finch, Deborah M. 1987. Bird-habitat relationships in subalpine riparian shrublands of the central Rocky Mountains. In: Troendle, Charles A.; Kaufmann, Merrill R.; Hamre, R. H.; Winokur, Robert P., technical coordinators. Management of subalpine forests: building on 50 years of research: Proceedings of a technical conference; 1987 July 6-9; Silver Creek, CO. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-149. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 167-172. [3475]
  • 55. Girard, Michele Marie. 1985. Native woodland ecology and habitat classification of southwestern North Dakota. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 314 p. Dissertation. [1025]
  • 58. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 60. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]
  • 70. Hansen, Paul; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana. Draft Version 2. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 279 p. [12477]
  • 71. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press, Inc. 666 p. [6851]
  • 73. Higgins, Kenneth F. 1986. Evidence of the historical occurrence of woody plants in areas of North Dakota grasslands. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings of the 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 115-117. [3539]
  • 78. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168]
  • 79. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 88. Kochy, Martin; Wilson, Scott D. 2004. Semiarid grassland responses to short-term variation in water availability. Plant Ecology. 174(2): 197-203. [67126]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, mesic, shrub

Western snowberry is described as a dominant
species in the following vegetation classifications and locations.

Idaho:
  • Narrowleaf cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)/western snowberry browsing
    disclimax community type along streams at low to mid elevations (4,800-6,800 feet (1,500-2,100 m)
    in the eastern part of the state
  • Black cottonwood (P. balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa)/western snowberry
    browsing disclimax community type from low to moderately high elevations (4,600-7,000
    feet (1,400-2,000 m)) throughout foothills and valleys of the eastern part of
    the state
  • Western snowberry community type on alluvial terraces along streams and rivers at mid
    elevations (5,400-6,700 feet (1,600-2,000 m) in the central and southeastern part of
    the state [63]

Iowa:
  • Bur oak-basswood (Quercus macrocarpa-Tilia americana)/western snowberry forests
    on the Great Plains [136]

Montana:
  • Interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum)/
    western snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Psedotsuga menziesii var. glauca)/western
    snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the Great Plains [136]
  • Western snowberry communities on low elevation (2,680-3,200 feet (817-980 m))
    alluvial floodplains in the northwestern part of the state [22]
  • Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/western snowberry forests on moderately steep to steep
    midslopes, with south or west aspects at 4,000 to 4,800 feet (1,200-1,500 m) in the Bear's
    Paw Mountains [129,130]
  • Interior ponderosa pine/western snowberry forests on all aspects of the rounded
    foothills and southern, eastern, or western aspects of mountain slopes of the Little
    Rocky Mountains at 3,400 to 5,200 feet (1,000-1,600 m)
  • Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/western snowberry forests occurring on well-drained, mesic
    sites with calcareous parent material in the Little Rocky Mountains at 3,900 to 4,600 feet
    (1,200-1,400 m) [131]
  • Western snowberry communities on old alluvial floodplains statewide [66,70]

Nebraska:
  • Smooth sumac-coralberry (Rhus glabra-Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)-western
    snowberry in chaparral zones between forested areas and prairies in the
    eastern part of the state
  • Coralberry-western snowberry along streams and on floodplains in open forested areas in
    the eastern part of the state [1]
  • Bur oak-basswood/western snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the Great Plains [136]
  • Western snowberry is a dominant shrub in the woodlands of northern Cherry County [155]

North Dakota:
  • Green ash-American elm (Fraxinus pennsylvanica-Ulmus americana)/western
    snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Bur oak-basswood/western snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides)/western snowberry woodlands on the Great Plains
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the Great Plains [136]
  • Green ash/western snowberry on nearly level floodplains and lower terraces of the Little
    Missouri River and its major tributaries [54,55,68]
  • Western snowberry community type in scattered thickets at the Theodore Roosevelt
    National Park [69]
  • Western snowberry-Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii) dispersed throughout
    grasslands at Woodworth Station [104]

South Dakota:
  • Green ash-American elm/western snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Bur oak-basswood/western snowberry forests on the Great Plains
  • Eastern cottonwood/western snowberry woodlands on the Great Plains
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the Great Plains [136]
  • Western snowberry scattered thickets in the Custer National Forest [67]
  • Bur oak/western snowberry in the Black Hills [80,146]
  • Interior ponderosa pine/western snowberry/Wood's rose/Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
    in the central region of the Black Hills from 5,100 to 6,450 feet (1,600-1,970 m) [153]

Wyoming:
  • Eastern cottonwood/western snowberry woodlands on the Great Plains [136]
  • Western snowberry shrub association in the Black Hills in moist areas [13,33]
  • Interior ponderosa pine/western
    snowberry in the Black Hills from 5,100 to 6,450 feet (1,600-1,970 m) [33]
  • Bur oak/western snowberry in the Black Hills [80]
  • Plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera)/western snowberry on the
    floodplains of major rivers in the Cheyenne River Basin [154]
  • Black cottonwood/western snowberry at low elevations (5,900-6,100 feet (1,800-1,900 m)) in
    wide valley bottoms and floodplains in the Shoshone National Forest [162]

Great Basin:
  • Western snowberry, chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), serviceberry (Amelanchier
    alnifolia), and rose (Rosa spp.) occurring as relatively pure types, but most often
    found growing together as mixed types with a combination of these species [170]

Great Plains:
  • Bur oak/western snowberry on drier slopes on the Missouri Plateau
  • Green ash/western snowberry on floodplains and terraces adjacent to major streams and rivers
    and their tributaries on the Missouri Plateau [69]

Alberta:
  • Western snowberry on narrow belts between prairie and aspen (Populus spp.)
    groves in the central part of the province [109]

Manitoba:
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the Great Plains [136]

Saskatchewan:
  • Western snowberry temporarily flooded shrublands on the northern Great Plains [136]
  • Western snowberry communities next to water channels and on slopes of wooded
    draws [93]
  • 1. Aikman, John M. 1926. Distribution and structure of the forests of eastern Nebraska. Nebraska University Studies. 26(1-2): 1-75. [6575]
  • 104. Meyer, Marvis I. 1985. Classification of native vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 17(3): 167-175. [5432]
  • 109. Moss, E. H. 1932. The vegetation of Alberta: IV. The poplar association and related vegetation of central Alberta. The Journal of Ecology. 20(2): 380-415. [63588]
  • 129. Roberts, David W. 1980. Forest habitat types of the Bear's Paw Mountains and Little Rocky Mountains, Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 116 p. Thesis. [29896]
  • 13. Baker, William L. 1984. A preliminary classification of the natural vegetation of Colorado. The Great Basin Naturalist. 44(4): 647-676. [380]
  • 130. Roberts, David W.; Sibbernsen, John I. [n.d.]. Forest habitat types of the Bear's Paw Mountains. Report prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Lab. Order No. 6055-0100032, Amendment #1. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. 60 p. [29857]
  • 131. Roberts, David W.; Sibbernsen, John I. [n.d.]. Forest habitat types of the Little Rocky Mountains. Report prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Lab. Order No. 6055-0100430. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. 60 p. [29856]
  • 136. Schneider, Rick E.; Faber-Langendoen, Don; Crawford, Rex C.; Weakley, Alan S. 1997. The status of biodiversity in the Great Plains: Great Plains vegetation classification. Supplemental Document 1. In: Ostlie, Wayne R.; Schneider, Rick E.; Aldrich, Janette Marie; Faust, Thomas M.; McKim, Robert L. B.; Chaplin, Stephen J., compilers. The status of biodiversity in the Great Plains, [Online]. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). 75 p. Available: http://conserveonline.org/docs/2005/02/greatplains_vegclass_97.pdf [2006, May 16]. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [62020]
  • 146. Steinauer, Gerald A. 1981. A classification of the Cercocarpus montanus, Quercus macrocarpa, Populus deltoides, and Picea glauca habitat types of the Black Hills National Forest. Vermillion, SD: University of South Dakota. 95 p. Thesis. [86]
  • 153. Thilenius, John F. 1972. Classification of deer habitat in the ponderosa pine forest of the Black Hills, South Dakota. Res. Pap. RM-91. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 28 p. [2317]
  • 154. Thilenius, John F.; Brown, Gary R.; Medina, Alvin L. 1995. Vegetation on semi-arid rangelands, Cheyenne River Basin, Wyoming. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-263. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 60 p. [26478]
  • 155. Tolstead, W. L. 1942. Vegetation of the northern part of Cherry County, Nebraska. Ecological Monographs. 12: 255-292. [4470]
  • 162. Walford, Gillian; Jones, George; Fertig, Walt; Mellman-Brown, Sabine; Houston, Kent E. 2001. Riparian and wetland plant community types of the Shoshone National Forest. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-85. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Cody, WY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cody Conservation District. 122 p. [40599]
  • 170. Winward, A. H. 1994. SRM 421: Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose. In: Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 59. [67037]
  • 22. Boggs, Keith; Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in northwestern Montana. Draft Version 1. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 217 p. [8447]
  • 33. Collins, Ellen I. 1984. Preliminary classification of Wyoming plant communities. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Natural Heritage Program/The Nature Conservancy. 42 p. [661]
  • 54. Girard, Michele M.; Goetz, Harold; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1989. Native woodland habitat types of southwestern North Dakota. Res. Pap. RM-281. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 36 p. [6319]
  • 55. Girard, Michele Marie. 1985. Native woodland ecology and habitat classification of southwestern North Dakota. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 314 p. Dissertation. [1025]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 66. Hansen, Paul L.; Chadde, Steve W.; Pfister, Robert D. 1988. Riparian dominance types of Montana. Misc. Publ. No. 49. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 411 p. [5660]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]
  • 68. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1984. The vegetation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-113. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p. [1077]
  • 69. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R.; Steinauer, Gerry A. 1984. Upland forest and woodland habitat types of the Missouri Plateau, Great Plains Province. In: Noble, Daniel L.; Winokur, Robert P., eds. Wooded draws: characteristics and values for the Northern Great Plains: Symposium proceedings; 1984 June 12-13; Rapid City, SD. Great Plains Agricultural Council Publ. No. 111. Rapid City, SD: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Biology Department: 15-26. [1078]
  • 70. Hansen, Paul; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana. Draft Version 2. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 279 p. [12477]
  • 80. Hoffman, George R.; Alexander, Robert R. 1987. Forest vegetation of the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota and Wyoming: a habitat type classification. Res. Pap. RM-276. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 48 p. [1181]
  • 93. Lawrence, Donna L.; Romo, J. T. 1995. Tree and shrub communities of wooded draws near the Matador Research Station in southern Saskatchewan. The Canadian Field Naturalist. 108(4): 397-412. [46867]

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Wolfberry in Illinois

Symphoricarpos occidentalis (Wolfberry)
(according to Graenicher, flies suck nectar or feed on pollen, while other insects suck nectar; most observations are from Graenicher, otherwise they are from LaBerge, Moure & Hurd, and Krombein et al. as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn (Gr); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus fervida sn (Gr), Bombus pensylvanica sn (Gr), Bombus pleuralis sn (Gr) [probable misidentification], Bombus vagans sn (Gr); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn (Gr); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata (LB); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn (Gr); Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia atriventris sn (Gr)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon melliventris sn (Gr), Agapostemon sericea sn (MH, Gr), Agapostemon virescens sn (MH, Gr), Augochlorella persimilis sn (Gr), Halictus sp. sn (Gr), Halictus confusus (MH), Halictus rubicunda (MH); Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes dichroa sn (MH, Gr); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes eulophi sn (Gr), Colletes latitarsis (LB, Kr); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena forbesii sn (Gr), Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn (Gr), Andrena miranda (Kr), Andrena rugosa sn (Gr)

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix americana sn (Gr); Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Lestica confluentus sn (Gr); Sphecidae (Larrinae): Tachytes pepticus sn (Gr); Sphecidae (Philanthinae): Cerceris fumipennis sn (Gr), Cerceris nigrescens sn (Gr), Philanthus bilunatus sn (Gr), Philanthus gibbosus sn (Gr); Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi sn (Gr), Sceliphron caementaria sn (Gr), Sphex ichneumonea sn (Gr), Sphex pensylvanica sn (Gr); Pompilidae: Anoplius tenebrosus sn (Gr); Scoliidae: Campsomeris plumipes sn (Gr); Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus sn (Gr), Ancistrocerus antilope sn (Gr), Eumenes fraterna sn (Gr), Euodynerus foraminatus sn (Gr), Euodynerus leucomelas sn (Gr), Symmorphus albomarginatus sn (Gr); Vespidae (Polistinae): Polistes fuscata sn (Gr); Vespidae (Vespinae): Dolichovespula maculata sn (Gr), Vespula germanica sn (Gr)

Flies
Stratiomyidae: Stratiomys norma sn/fp (Gr); Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua sn/fp (Gr), Eristalis anthophorina sn/fp (Gr), Eristalis brousii sn/fp (Gr), Eristalis dimidiatus sn/fp (Gr), Eristalis flavipes sn/fp (Gr), Eristalis transversus sn/fp (Gr), Eupeodes americanus sn/fp (Gr), Helophilus fasciatus sn/fp (Gr), Mallota bautias sn/fp (Gr), Mallota posticata sn/fp (Gr), Sphaerophoria contiqua sn/fp (Gr), Syritta pipiens sn/fp (Gr), Toxomerus geminatus sn/fp (Gr), Toxomerus marginatus sn/fp (Gr), Tropidia quadrata sn/fp (Gr); Tachinidae: Cylindromyia carolinae sn/fp (Gr), Strongygaster triangulifera sn/fp (Gr); Calliphoridae: Calliphora vicina sn/fp (Gr), Lucilia illustris sn/fp (Gr), Phormia regina sn/fp (Gr); Muscidae: Graphomya americana sn/fp (Gr), Morellia micans sn/fp (Gr), Neomyia cornicina sn/fp (Gr), Stomoxys calcitrans sn/fp (Gr); Sarcophagidae: Sarcophaga sp. sn/fp (Gr), Sarcophaga sarracenioides sn/fp (Gr)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Danaus plexippus sn (Gr), Libytheana carinenta sn (Gr), Limenitis archippus sn (Gr), Limenitis arthemis astyanax sn (Gr), Phyciodes tharos sn (Gr), Speyeria cybele sn (Gr), Vanessa atalanta sn (Gr), Vanessa virginiensis sn (Gr); Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus sn (Gr), Lycaena hyllus sn (Gr); Pieridae: Colias philodice sn (Gr)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Polites origenes sn (Gr), Polites themistocles sn (Gr)

Moths
Noctuidae: Anagrapha falcifera sn (Gr); Sphingidae: Hemaris diffinis sn (Gr)

Beetles
Scarabaeidae: Trichiotinus piger sn (Gr)

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: backfire, cool-season, cover, density, fuel, fuel loading, fuel moisture, headfire, prescribed burn, prescribed fire, shrub

Fire behavior and fuel characteristics: To assess the maximum fire temperatures reached in western snowberry communities above and below ground, prescribed fires were conducted in late April and early May near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan [8]. At the time of the fires, air temperature ranged from 59 to 64 °F (15-18 °C), relative humidity from 30% to 40%, and wind speeds less than 3 meters/second. The fuel load was 1,029±228 g/m² dry weight (± SD) and fuel moisture content was 25±8 % (± SD) prior to the fires. At 3 measurement points above ground (4 inches (10 cm), 9.8 inches (25 cm), and 20 inches (50 cm)), fire temperatures exceeded 1,000 °F (800 °C). At all measurement points, maximum fire temperatures occurred within 2 to 3 minutes following ignition.

Average maximum fire temperatures and average duration of fire temperatures above 100 °F (60 °C) (±SD) at selected heights in the western snowberry community [8]
Measurement height (cm) -5 0 10 25 50 100 150
Avg. maximum fire temperature (°C) 40±21 692±118 843±36 824±43 835±54 735±11 697±22
Avg. duration of fire temperatures above 60 °C (minutes) 0.1±0 8.1±6.0 4.7±1.1 3.5±0.5 3.1±0.5 2.3±0.5 2.2±0.6

Bailey and Anderson [12] collected fuel and fire temperature data during April in a western snowberry community located within an aspen parkland in central Alberta. Fuels and temperatures at ground level during the fire at 3 locations within the western snowberry stand are presented in the table below. The inner third of the western snowberry community had significantly (P<0.05) greater western snowberry fuels and standing woody fuel and thereby a significantly higher surface temperature [12].

Fuel loading and fire temperature data in a western snowberry community in central Alberta [12]

Type of vegetation/fuel

Position in stand
Inner third Middle third Outer third
Western snowberry shrubland (kg/ha) 25,173* 16,857 14,732
Standing woody fuel (kg/ha) 14,906* 9,349 8,798
Ground surface fuel (kg/ha) 8,270 7,508 6,270
Fire temperature (°C) 445* 368 381
*Significantly (P<0.05) greater than middle and outer third of stand

The researchers also took aboveground temperature readings during the western snowberry fire. Recorded headfire temperatures were higher than backfire temperatures. Fire temperatures for both head- and backfires were greatest at approximately 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) above ground. The mean and range of temperatures of the fires are presented in the table below. Both head- and backfires burned 100% of the area [12].

Temperature mean and range of head- and backfires in a western snowberry community [12]

Fire type

Mean temperature (°C±SE)

Temperature range (°C)

Backfire 325±19 204-427
Headfire 435±17 232-704

Prescribed burning: Prescribed burning of western snowberry may be implemented to increase production, rehabilitate disturbed sites, and/or improve wildlife habitat.

In the northern Great Plains, spring burning (May-June) generally causes western snowberry to sprout, while frequent fires may reduce western snowberry cover. Prescribed burning guidelines for the northern Great Plains are available [75].

Successful spring burning of western snowberry shrub communities in the aspen parklands of Alberta requires the following: 1) A minimum temperature of 55 °F (13 °C), 2) winds of 2 to 12/mph, 3) 50% maximum relative humidity, and 4) at least 4 days following a precipitation event [171].

To increase production and caloric content of western snowberry, a prescribed burn was conducted on the Oakvile Prairie, near Grand Forks, North Dakota. On an unburned upland site, western snowberry production was 26.3 g/m² and caloric content was 4,822 kcal/g (ash-free) and 126,915 kcal/m². At postfire month 3 on burned sites, western snowberry production was 39.4 g/m² and caloric content was 4,855 kcal/g (ash-free) and 191,190 kcal/m² [62].

Site rehabilitation: The narrowleaf cottonwood/western snowberry streamside community type in eastern Idaho is "extremely" important in reducing sedimentation, stabilizing streambanks, and slowing flood waters. Overgrazing can lead to the complete removal of western snowberry and Wood's rose. Prescribed fire, if managed carefully, is a possible tool in maintaining or restoring this community type. If fire is used, livestock grazing should be excluded from the site for at least 5 postfire years and wildlife browsing should be closely monitored [63].

Wildlife: The effect of cool-season burns on wildlife was investigated in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. The fires, occurring on separate sites, were conducted on 17 October 1979 and 14 April 1980. Both fires were classified as low-severity. During the first postfire year, deer mice and songbird populations increased "dramatically". By the second postfire year, the effect disappeared or in some cases was reversed. Likely the deer mice and songbirds were attracted to the burn during postfire year 1 by an increase in food supply, which decreased by the second postfire year [19].

Following a prescribed fire in a rough fescue community at Kernen Prairie, Saskatchewan, the density of breeding pairs of birds was reduced for 3 postfire years. Western snowberry is a common shrub at the site. The fire was conducted in October 1986 and bird population counts were taken during the summers of 1987, 1988, and 1989. Averaging all 12 bird species counted on the burned and unburned sites, the density of breeding pairs on burned sites in the 3 years was 2.39, 2.47, and 2.95 breeding pairs/ha. On unburned sites, breeding pair density was 5.18, 5.22, and 4.24 breeding pairs/ha [121].

  • 12. Bailey, Arthur W.; Anderson, Murray L. 1980. Fire temperatures in grass, shrub and aspen forest communities of central Alberta. Journal of Range Management. 33(1): 37-40. [6937]
  • 121. Pylypec, Bohdan. 1991. Impacts of fire on bird populations in a fescue prairie. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 105(3): 346-349. [18203]
  • 171. Wright, Henry A. 1978. Prescription guides. In: Linne, James M., ed. BLM guidelines for prairie/plains plant communities to incorporate fire use/management into activity plans and fire use plans. In: Prairie prescribed burning symposium and workshop: Proceedings; 1978 April 25-28; Jamestown, ND. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]: VII-1 to VII-6. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [62535]
  • 19. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H. 1983. Responses of birds and deer mice to prescribed burning in ponderosa pine. Journal of Wildlife Management. 47(3): 836-840. [476]
  • 62. Hadley, Elmer B. 1970. Net productivity and burning response of native eastern North Dakota prairie communities. The American Midland Naturalist. 84(1): 121-135. [5434]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 75. Higgins, Kenneth F.; Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1989. Prescribed burning guidelines in the Northern Great Plains. Ext. Circ. EC-760. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University. 36 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service. [14185]
  • 8. Archibold, O. W.; Nelson, L. J.; Ripley, E. A.; Delanoy, L. 1998. Fire temperatures in plant communities of the northern mixed prairie. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 112(2): 234-240. [33074]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, density, frequency, prescribed fire, shrub

Repeated burning:
While several sources
claim that spring burning increases western snowberry cover [49,157,172],
a long-term study in the aspen parklands of Alberta [3,4] and a shorter
duration study in Minnesota [14] found that annual spring burning either caused a
decrease or fluctuation in cover, a decrease in density, and a reduction in height.

Annual early spring burning significantly (P<0.005) reduced western snowberry
cover and density in east-central Alberta [3,4]. Prescribed burning took place for
at least 24 years in an aspen parkland composed of a mosaic of quaking aspen groves and
grasslands dominated by rough fescue and shortbristle needle-and-thread. Before and after
burning, western snowberry had the greatest stem density and cover of any shrub on the site.
Burns were conducted in April when soil moisture was normally high. Frequency and cover
measurements were obtained in July and August of the same year. Frequency and canopy cover
of western snowberry were analyzed on sites which had been burned annually and on sites where
burning had not occurred during the study period. Western snowberry frequency and canopy cover
were 56% and 31%, respectively, on unburned sites and 52% and 2%, respectively, on burned sites.
Western snowberry density was 25.0 stems/m² on unburned sites and 17.8 stems/m² on burned sites
[3,4].
Five years of annual, low-severity spring burning of western snowberry caused fluctuation in
percent cover and reduction in shrub height at Pipestone National Monument in southwestern
Minnesota [14]. Burning took place from mid- to late April, except for 1987 when burning was
conducted in early May. At the time of burning in 1987, western snowberry had considerably more
foliage than at the time of burning in other years, which may account for the reduced cover during
the summer of 1987. The researchers note that average western snowberry height was reduced from 3
feet (1 m) to 1.5 feet (0.5 m) due to burning. While not clear, height measurements were likely
taken in summer 1987. Thus, the reduction in height of western snowberry is probably a short-term
effect of annual burning [14].
Pre- and postburn western snowberry cover during 5
years of annual spring burning [14]
Season of measurement1983198419851987
Spring (Preburn)3.76.39.5N.D.*
Summer (Postburn)10.09.6N.D.5.2

*N.D.=No data

On the Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, western snowberry height and canopy cover was
reduced by late growing season, alternate year prescribed burning. Burning was conducted
either during full western snowberry leaf maturity when root reserves are lowest, or late in
the growing season when it is too late for regrowth to replenish root reserves, thus producing
winterkill. Following 3 burns over 6 years, average height of live woody stems had been reduced
by about 60% and maximum height and canopy cover reduced by 55%. However, postfire sprouting
had increased the number of live woody stems by 30% [143].
Prior to 1975, Willa Cather Prairie, a mixed-grass prairie in Nebraska, had been moderately
grazed for an unknown number of years. Between 1975 and 1992, The Nature Conservancy greatly
reduced grazing on the prairie and conducted 9 burns. Western snowberry cover increased from
an average of 0.27% in 1975 to 3.42% in 1992 on all sites (lowland, limy upland, and silty upland)
combined [112].
Single burns: Abundance of western snowberry
typically increases in the short-term (3 months to 2 years) after a single fire. Effects of a
single fire on canopy cover and height are more variable, as illustrated by the following studies.
A single, high-intensity burn in a plains cottonwood forest community in Dinosaur Provincial
Park, British Columbia, significantly (P<0.05) reduced western snowberry cover. The fire
occurred on 15 August 1989 and postfire measurements were taken in August 1990. Western snowberry
cover on unburned sites was 46.33% and 8.8% on burned sites [110].
Following a single burn near Minneapolis in mid-April, all western snowberry plants on the site
were top-killed. By fall of the same year, new shoots averaged just half the height and diameter
of stems on unburned sites, but stems density was 2.5 times greater on burned versus unburned sites.
During the second year, stems on the burned area had reached 75% the height of stems on unburned
sites. Stem density on burned sites was lower than in postfire year 1 but was still appreciably
higher than on the unburned site [117].
A single spring fire caused little change in western snowberry cover and frequency either 3
months or 2 years after fire, but caused a significant (P<0.01 and P<0.05)
increase in stem density [6]. Burn plots were established in a western snowberry community
located at the University of Alberta Ranch. The western snowberry community is part of a larger
rough fescue grassland. Two prescription fires were conducted on separate plots; one in May 1970
and the other in May 1971. Western snowberry cover, frequency, and stem density were measured
1 and 2 years following the 1970 burn, and 3 months following the 1971 burn. Measurements on burned
and unburned sites for both the 1970 and 1971 fires were taken during August. Western snowberry
began sprouting 2 weeks after the prescribed fire was conducted. The increase in stem density on
both the 1970 and 1971 burned sites is attributable the destruction of western snowberry apical
buds by fire. The removal of apical dominance likely accounted for the increased number of woody
stems following burning [6].

Cover, frequency, and density of western snowberry on
unburned and burned sites following a single burn [6]

Burn dateMay 1971May 1970
Sample dateAugust 1971

(3 months after fire)
August 1970

(3 months after fire)
August 1971

(1 year after fire)
August 1972

(2 years after fire)
TreatmentBurnedUnburnedBurnedUnburnedBurnedUnburnedBurnedUnburned
Frequency (%)99100100100100100100100
Cover (%)8778959590908989
Density (stems/m²)10222236861996517066

Fall and spring low-severity prescribed fires caused little overall change in
western snowberry cover and height, but an increase in number of individuals and
crown width in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota [20]. Fires were conducted
at two separate sites on 17 October 1979 and 14 April 1980. Due to the
similarity in results of fire effects on vegetation, data from both fires were
combined. Data collection occurred in June of 1979 (preburn), 1980, and 1981 [20].
Fire effects on western snowberry
following 2 fires [20]
MeasurementTreatmentJune 1979 (preburn)June 1980June 1981
Cover (%)Burn0.80.30.4
Control0.60.50.3
# of individualsBurn1,2261,3051,120
Control466497418
Mean height (cm±SD)Burn24.9±11.8*17.3±9.018.4±8.0
Control20.5±10.117.5±9.318.8±10.0
Mean maximum crown width (cm±SD)Burn16.5±9.310.5±6.313.7±9.1
Control16.0±9.915.5±8.8*15.2±8.8

*Significantly (P<0.05) greater than other treatment
within year

Western snowberry cover decreased the first year after a fire in central Alberta (26 May 1968).
In the months preceding the fire, temperatures were 10 °F (6 °C) above average in February and
March and precipitation was 56% of normal in April and May. The summer before the fire, western
snowberry cover was 3.9%; 15 months after fire, it was 1.7% [85].
Western snowberry density changed little during the 1st and 2nd growing seasons following a
single, spring (17 April) prescribed fire in four bur oak woodlands in the Black Hills of South
Dakota. Western snowberry density on burned versus unburned plots, respectively, was 13.0±2.3 and
11.8±0.4 shrubs/m² (±SE) the first postfire season; and 13.3±1.7 and 12.7±1.7 shrubs/m² (±SE) the
second postfire growing season [141].
Season of burning: Increases in
density of western snowberry tend to be greatest after summer fires, and more
variable on fall- and
spring-burned sites. Western snowberry biomass growth tends to be greater on unburned sites than
either spring- or fall-burned sites for several years following fire as illustrated in the research
below.
Western snowberry density was highest on sites burned in summer, lowest on spring-burned sites
and intermediate on fall-burned and control sites on the Kernan Prairie near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Prescribed fires were conducted during the spring (1998 May 6), summer (1998 June 26), and fall
(1998 October 8). The area had been previously burned in 1991. At the end of the second growing
season following burning, western snowberry stem density/m² was measured on an unburned control
site and the spring, summer, and fall burn sites. Western snowberry stem densities were 37.3, 28.7,
42.3, and 35.7, respectively [9]. For a detailed summary of this study, see the Research Project
Summary
Seasonal fires in Saskatchewan rough fescue prairie
.
Another study on Kernan Prairie showed similar results on fall-burned plots, while spring-burned
plots had higher stem densities than control plots  [132]. Burns were conducted
in mid-October after western snowberry leaves had abscised, and in late April to early May before
growth had begun. While stem density was greater on burned than unburned sites, the only significant
(P<0.05) difference occurred between unburned and spring burned sites in postfire
years 2 and 3.
Western snowberry stem density (live
stems/m²) on unburned and fall and spring burned sites [132]
Growing seasonUnburnedFallSpring
Preburn363938
Postfire year 13972122
Postfire year 24367111
Postfire year 3466295
Postfire year 4465751

Western snowberry biomass characteristics (total leaf area, new growth, old growth, and
total biomass) during the first 3 growing seasons following the burns were generally greater
on unburned than burned sites, except for new growth during the first postfire growing season.
Total leaf area was significantly (P<0.05) greater on unburned sites than on
spring burned sites in the second postfire growing season. New growth was significantly greater
on unburned sites than on spring and fall burned sites in the second growing season. Old growth
and total biomass were significantly greater on unburned than spring and fall burned sites during
all 3 postfire growing seasons [132].
Western snowberry individual stem biomass
characteristics on unburned and fall and spring burned sites during 3 postfire growing
seasons [132]
Growth parameterUnburnedFallSpring

1st postfire growing season

Total leaf area (cm²)183156128
New growth (g)0.71.41.2
Old growth (g)6.1*0.00.0
Total biomass (g)8.83.12.5
2nd postfire growing season
Total leaf area (cm²)223*133102
New growth (g)1.1*0.60.5
Old growth (g)6.2*1.31.3
Total biomass (g)10.13.43.0
3rd postfire growing season
Total leaf area (cm²)275139108
New growth (g)1.70.40.4
Old growth (g)7.7*2.12.2
Total biomass (g)13.24.03.9

*Significantly (P<0.05) greater on
unburned than fall or spring burned sites
  • 110. Mowat, Catherine. 1990. Fire effects study for Quail Flats fire, Dinosaur Provincial Park. Calgary, AB: Alberta Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Dinosaur National Park. 37 p. [+ appendices]. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [17454]
  • 112. Nagel, Harold G. 1995. Vegetative changes during 17 years of succession on Willa Cather Prairie in Nebraska. In: Hartnett, David C., ed. Prairie biodiversity: Proceedings, 14th North American prairie conference; 1994 July 12-16; Manhattan, KS. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University: 25-30. [28223]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 132. Romo, J. T.; Grilz, P. L.; Redmann, R. E.; Driver, E. A. 1993. Standing crop, biomass allocation patterns and soil-plant water relations in Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook. following autumn or spring burning. The American Midland Naturalist. 130(1): 106-115. [21808]
  • 14. Becker, Donald A. 1989. Five years of annual prairie burns. In: Bragg, Thomas A.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 163-168. [14037]
  • 141. Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Wright, Henry A. 1996. The role of prescribed burning in regenerating Quercus macrocarpa and associated woody plants in stringer woodlands in the Black Hills of South Dakota. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 6(1): 21-29. [27119]
  • 143. Smith, Karen A. 1985. Prescribed burning reduces height and canopy cover of western snowberry (North Dakota). Restoration & Management Notes. 3(2): 86-87. [5207]
  • 157. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1993. The role and use of fire in the Great Plains: A state of the art review. In: Fire effects in plant communities on the public lands. EA #MT-930-93-01. [Billings, MT]: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Montana State Office: II-1 to II-51. [55087]
  • 172. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1980. Fire ecology and prescribed burning in the Great Plains--a research review. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-77. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 60 p. [2618]
  • 20. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1981. Some effects of fire on vegetation and wildlife in ponderosa pine forests of the southern Black Hills. Final Report: Contracts CX-1200-9-B034, CX-1200-0-B018, CX-1200-1-B022; Grant No. RM-80-105 GR. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 58 p. [479]
  • 3. Anderson, Howard A. 1978. Annual burning and vegetation in the aspen parkland of east central Alberta. In: Dube, D. E., compiler. Fire ecology in resource management: Workshop proceedings; 1977 December 6-7; [Edmonton, AB]. Information Report NOR-X-210. Edmonton, AB: Environment Canada, Canadian Forestry Service, Northern Forest Research Centre: 2-3. Abstract. [317]
  • 4. Anderson, Howard G.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1980. Effects of annual burning on grassland in the aspen parkland of east-central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 985-996. [3499]
  • 49. Fischer, William C.; Clayton, Bruce D. 1983. Fire ecology of Montana forest habitat types east of the Continental Divide. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-141. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 83 p. [923]
  • 6. Anderson, Murray L.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1979. Effect of fire on a Symphoricarpos occidentalis shrub community in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 2820-2823. [2867]
  • 85. Keith, Lloyd B.; Surrendi, Dennis C. 1971. Effects of fire on a snowshoe hare population. Journal of Wildlife Management. 35(1): 16-26. [124]
  • 9. Archibold, O. W.; Ripley, E. A.; Delanoy, L. 2003. Effects of season of burning on the microenvironment of fescue prairie in central Saskatchewan. Canadian Field Naturalist. 117(2): 257-266. [48371]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: top-kill

Western snowberry sprouts from rhizomes or the stem base after top-kill from fire [6,27,53,57,63,140,141,142,145]. Postfire sprouting can begin within 2 weeks following fire [74]. While western snowberry may establish from seeds after fire, no mention of this is found in the literature. The fire studies discussed below present mixed results concerning western snowberry's response to fire.
  • 140. Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 1997. The role of fire in managing for biological diversity on native rangelands of the Northern Great Plains. In: Uresk, Daniel W.; Schenbeck, Greg L.; O'Rourke, James T., tech. coords. Conserving biodiversity on native rangelands: symposium proceedings; 1995 August 17; Fort Robinson State Park, NE. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-298. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 31-38. [28054]
  • 141. Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Wright, Henry A. 1996. The role of prescribed burning in regenerating Quercus macrocarpa and associated woody plants in stringer woodlands in the Black Hills of South Dakota. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 6(1): 21-29. [27119]
  • 142. Smith, Karen A. 1985. Canada thistle response to prescribed burning (North Dakota). Restoration and Management Notes. 3(2): Note 94. [37401]
  • 145. Stanton, Frank. 1974. Wildlife guidelines for range fire rehabilitation. Tech. Note 6712. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 90 p. [2221]
  • 27. Britton, Carlton M.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Brush management with fire. In: McDaniel, Kirk C., ed. Proceedings: brush management symposium; 1983 February 16; Albuquerque, NM. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 61-68. [521]
  • 53. Girard, Michele M.; Goetz, Harold; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1987. Factors influencing woodlands of southwestern North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 19(3): 189-198. [2763]
  • 57. Gom, Lori A.; Rood, Stewart B. 1999. Fire induces clonal sprouting of riparian cottonwoods. Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(11): 1604-1616. [38169]
  • 6. Anderson, Murray L.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1979. Effect of fire on a Symphoricarpos occidentalis shrub community in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 2820-2823. [2867]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 74. Higgins, Kenneth F.; Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1989. Effects of fire in the Northern Great Plains. Ext. Circ. EC-761. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Cooperative Extension Service; South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. 47 p. [14749]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Western snowberry is typically top-killed by fire [117]. While the stems of western snowberry are sensitive to fire, the rhizomes and stem bases can usually survive fire due to their depth in the soil (0.8-14 inches (2-35 cm)) [7,117].
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 7. Archibold, O. W. 1979. Buried viable propagules as a factor in postfire regeneration in northern Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 54-58. [5934]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, rhizome, shrub

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [148]:
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
  • 148. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire exclusion, fire frequency, fire regime, fire-return interval, frequency, fuel, low-severity fire, mesic, natural, nonnative species, shrub

Fire adaptations: Western snowberry is fire-tolerant [63,67,70] and sprouts after fire [6,27,53,57,63,140,141,142,145]. While the stems of western snowberry are sensitive to fire, the rhizomes and stem bases can survive fire due to their depth in the soil (0.8-14 inches (2-35 cm)) [7,117].

FIRE REGIMES: There is little information directly relating to western snowberry FIRE REGIMES. Western snowberry may occur where the fire-return interval is as short as 1 year and as long as 500 years.

Northern Great Plains/Mixed-grass prairie: Fire has played an important role in northern Great Plains mixed-grass prairies, where western snowberry occurs. The historically large tracts of continuous mixed-grass prairie, which occur in hot, dry areas, accumulated much fine fuel and were susceptible to frequent lightning fires. Early records kept by explorers, trappers, and settlers noted a high occurrence of fires, both natural and anthropogenic [140], with frequent low-severity fires occurring at intervals of 5 to 10 years [37,116,173]. In a review by Sieg [140], the fire-return interval for level to rolling topography in the northern Great Plains is 5 to 10 years. On more dissected topography, such as breaks and rivers, the fire-return interval ranges from 20 to 30 years. In mixed-grass prairies of Badlands National Park, South Dakota, frequent low-intensity surface fires occurred at frequencies of 1 to 25 years [37]. Since the early 1900s, fire has been excluded and nonnative species, including Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus), smooth brome, Kentucky bluegrass, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), are widely established in the area [37]. Fire exclusion has also allowed the encroachment of western snowberry into grasslands of the northern Great Plains [114,117].

Western snowberry-dominant communities: Fire has played an active role in shaping the interior ponderosa pine/western snowberry and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/western snowberry communities of the Little Rocky Mountains [131] and the Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/western snowberry communities of the Bear's Paw Mountains [130]. In a review by Fischer and Clayton [49], it is suggested that the fire frequency of interior ponderosa pine communities with a shrub understory is "considerably" less than 50 years, and that of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir ranges from 5 to 20 or more years. Long-term exclusion of surface fires has altered Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir sites, creating more flammable conditions. On Bureau of Land Management lands in southern and eastern Idaho, narrowleaf cottonwood/western snowberry and black cottonwood/western snowberry communities typically burn during the late summer and fall [63].

The following table provides fire regime information on vegetation communities in which western snowberry may occur:

Fire regime information on vegetation communities in which western snowberry may occur. For each community, fire regime characteristics are taken from the LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models [92]. These vegetation models were developed by local experts using available literature, local data, and/or expert opinion as documented in the .pdf file linked from the name of each Potential Natural Vegetation Group listed below. Cells are blank where information is not available in the Rapid Assessment Vegetation Model.
Pacific Northwest Great Basin Northern Rockies
Northern Great Plains
 
Pacific Northwest
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northwest Grassland
Bluebunch wheatgrass Replacement 47% 18 5 20
Mixed 53% 16 5 20
Idaho fescue grasslands Replacement 76% 40    
Mixed 24% 125    
Northwest Woodland
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Northwest Forested
Ponderosa pine (xeric) Replacement 37% 130    
Mixed 48% 100    
Surface or low 16% 300    
Dry ponderosa pine (mesic) Replacement 5% 125    
Mixed 13% 50    
Surface or low 82% 8    
Great Basin
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Basin Grassland
Great Basin grassland Replacement 33% 75 40 110
Mixed 67% 37 20 54
Mountain meadow (mesic to dry) Replacement 66% 31 15 45
Mixed 34% 59 30 90
Great Basin Shrubland
Mountain shrubland with trees Replacement 22% 105 100 200
Mixed 78% 29 25 100
Great Basin Woodland
Ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 200    
Mixed 17% 60    
Surface or low 78% 13    
Great Basin Forested
Interior ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 161   800
Mixed 10% 80 50 80
Surface or low 86% 9 8 10
Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir Replacement 10% 250   >1,000
Mixed 51% 50 50 130
Surface or low 39% 65 15  
Aspen with conifer (low to midelevation) Replacement 53% 61 20  
Mixed 24% 137 10  
Surface or low 23% 143 10  
Douglas-fir (warm mesic interior) Replacement 28% 170 80 400
Mixed 72% 65 50 250
Stable aspen-cottonwood, no conifers Replacement 31% 96 50 300
Surface or low 69% 44 20 60
Stable aspen without conifers Replacement 81% 150 50 300
Surface or low 19% 650 600 >1,000
Northern Rockies
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northern Rockies Grassland
Northern prairie grassland Replacement 55% 22 2 40
Mixed 45% 27 10 50
Northern Rockies Shrubland
Riparian (Wyoming)
Mixed 100% 100 25 500
Mountain shrub, nonsagebrush Replacement 80% 100 20 150
Mixed 20% 400    
Northern Rockies Forested
Ponderosa pine (Northern Great Plains) Replacement 5% 300    
Mixed 20% 75    
Surface or low 75% 20 10 40
Ponderosa pine (Northern and Central Rockies) Replacement 4% 300 100 >1,000
Mixed 19% 60 50 200
Surface or low 77% 15 3 30
Ponderosa pine (Black Hills, low elevation) Replacement 7% 300 200 400
Mixed 21% 100 50 400
Surface or low 71% 30 5 50
Ponderosa pine (Black Hills, high elevation) Replacement 12% 300    
Mixed 18% 200    
Surface or low 71% 50    
Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir Replacement 10% 250   >1,000
Mixed 51% 50 50 130
Surface or low 39% 65 15  
Douglas-fir (xeric interior) Replacement 12% 165 100 300
Mixed 19% 100 30 100
Surface or low 69% 28 15 40
Douglas-fir (warm mesic interior) Replacement 28% 170 80 400
Mixed 72% 65 50 250
Douglas-fir (cold) Replacement 31% 145 75 250
Mixed 69% 65 35 150
Northern Great Plains
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northern mixed-grass prairie Replacement 67% 15 8 25
Mixed 33% 30 15 35
Northern Plains Woodland
Northern Great Plains wooded draws and ravines Replacement 38% 45 30 100
Mixed 18% 94    
Surface or low 43% 40 10  
Great Plains floodplain Replacement 100% 500    
*Fire Severities:
Replacement=Any fire that causes greater than 75% top removal of a vegetation-fuel type, resulting in general replacement of existing vegetation; may or may not cause a lethal effect on the plants.
Mixed=Any fire burning more than 5% of an area that does not qualify as a replacement, surface, or low-severity fire; includes mosaic and other fires that are intermediate in effects.
Surface or low=Any fire that causes less than 25% upper layer replacement and/or removal in a vegetation-fuel class but burns 5% or more of the area [64,91].
  • 114. Ogle, Stephen M.; Reiners, William A. 2002. A phytosociological study of exotic annual brome grasses in a mixed grass prairie/ponderosa pine forest ecotone. The American Midland Naturalist. 147(1): 25-31. [40323]
  • 116. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Haase, Sally M.; Harrington, Michael G.; Narog, Marcia G.; Sackett, Stephen S.; Wilson, Ruth C. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. [36978]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 130. Roberts, David W.; Sibbernsen, John I. [n.d.]. Forest habitat types of the Bear's Paw Mountains. Report prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Lab. Order No. 6055-0100032, Amendment #1. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. 60 p. [29857]
  • 131. Roberts, David W.; Sibbernsen, John I. [n.d.]. Forest habitat types of the Little Rocky Mountains. Report prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Lab. Order No. 6055-0100430. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. 60 p. [29856]
  • 140. Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 1997. The role of fire in managing for biological diversity on native rangelands of the Northern Great Plains. In: Uresk, Daniel W.; Schenbeck, Greg L.; O'Rourke, James T., tech. coords. Conserving biodiversity on native rangelands: symposium proceedings; 1995 August 17; Fort Robinson State Park, NE. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-298. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 31-38. [28054]
  • 141. Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Wright, Henry A. 1996. The role of prescribed burning in regenerating Quercus macrocarpa and associated woody plants in stringer woodlands in the Black Hills of South Dakota. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 6(1): 21-29. [27119]
  • 142. Smith, Karen A. 1985. Canada thistle response to prescribed burning (North Dakota). Restoration and Management Notes. 3(2): Note 94. [37401]
  • 145. Stanton, Frank. 1974. Wildlife guidelines for range fire rehabilitation. Tech. Note 6712. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 90 p. [2221]
  • 173. Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p. [2620]
  • 27. Britton, Carlton M.; Wright, Henry A. 1983. Brush management with fire. In: McDaniel, Kirk C., ed. Proceedings: brush management symposium; 1983 February 16; Albuquerque, NM. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 61-68. [521]
  • 37. Dingman, Sandra; Paintner, Kara J. 2001. Defining landscape vision to monitor and manage prescribed fire at Badlands National Park, South Dakota. In: Bernstein, Neil P.; Ostrander, Laura J., eds. Seeds for the future; roots of the past: Proceedings of the 17th North American prairie conference; 2000 July 16-20; Mason City, IA. Mason City, IA: North Iowa Area Community College: 73-78. [46496]
  • 49. Fischer, William C.; Clayton, Bruce D. 1983. Fire ecology of Montana forest habitat types east of the Continental Divide. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-141. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 83 p. [923]
  • 53. Girard, Michele M.; Goetz, Harold; Bjugstad, Ardell J. 1987. Factors influencing woodlands of southwestern North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 19(3): 189-198. [2763]
  • 57. Gom, Lori A.; Rood, Stewart B. 1999. Fire induces clonal sprouting of riparian cottonwoods. Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(11): 1604-1616. [38169]
  • 6. Anderson, Murray L.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1979. Effect of fire on a Symphoricarpos occidentalis shrub community in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 2820-2823. [2867]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 64. Hann, Wendel; Havlina, Doug; Shlisky, Ayn; [and others]. 2005. Interagency fire regime condition class guidebook. Version 1.2, [Online]. In: Interagency fire regime condition class website. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service; U.S. Department of the Interior; The Nature Conservancy; Systems for Environmental Management (Producer). Variously paginated [+ appendices]. Available: http://www.frcc.gov/docs/1.2.2.2/Complete_Guidebook_V1.2.pdf [2007, May 23]. [66734]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]
  • 7. Archibold, O. W. 1979. Buried viable propagules as a factor in postfire regeneration in northern Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 54-58. [5934]
  • 70. Hansen, Paul; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana. Draft Version 2. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 279 p. [12477]
  • 91. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2005. Reference condition modeling manual (Version 2.1), [Online]. In: LANDFIRE. Cooperative Agreement 04-CA-11132543-189. Boulder, CO: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service; U.S. Department of the Interior (Producers). 72 p. Available: http://www.landfire.gov/downloadfile.php?file=RA_Modeling_Manual_v2_1.pdf [2007, May 24]. [66741]
  • 92. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2007. Rapid assessment reference condition models. In: LANDFIRE. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab; U.S. Geological Survey; The Nature Conservancy (Producers). Available: http://www.landfire.gov/models_EW.php [66533]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, forbs, shrubs, tree

Western snowberry occurs in climax communities [25,101] but is generally found in seral communities on immature soils and in the transition zones between grasslands and forests [117]. Western snowberry is most commonly found where full or nearly full sunlight is available. However, it is also frequently found at forest borders where it can survive under partial to dense shade [67,117].

Disturbed sites: Western snowberry thrives following disturbances such as fire [57,109,119], logging [15], animal activity [18,150], and various other soil disturbances [144,161]. On alluvial floodplains in northwestern Montana, the western snowberry community type generally represents a disturbance-induced seral stage of the interior ponderosa pine/red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) and/or Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir/red-osier dogwood habitat types [22].

Grazing: Western snowberry sometimes occurs in communities characterized as a moderately disturbed secondary successional stage following grazing and/or browsing [63]. On low-elevation riparian and wetland sites in central and eastern Montana, prolonged browsing of eastern cottonwood/red-osier dogwood communities leads to the disturbance-induced eastern cottonwood/western snowberry community-type [65]. In eastern Idaho, continued grazing or browsing pressure in narrowleaf cottonwood/red-osier dogwood and black cottonwood/red-osier dogwood communities leads to a grazing disclimax narrowleaf cottonwood/western snowberry community and black cottonwood/red-osier dogwood community. If grazing or browsing is heavy enough, all shrubs will be eliminated, leaving an herbaceous understory dominated by Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), timothy (Phleum pratense), smooth brome (Bromus inermis), and variety of "weedy" forbs [63].

Grasslands: When western snowberry spreads onto grasslands, it reduces forage production [25]. Pelton [117] states that western snowberry's most important successional role is that it can successfully invade grasslands to the point where it shades out grasses, thereby facilitating the invasion of trees. In Canada, the invading tree is quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), while in Iowa and Nebraska it is primarily bur oak.

  • 101. McLean, Alastair; Holland, W. D. 1958. Vegetation zones and their relationship to the soils and climate of the upper Columbia Valley. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. [1]: 328-345. [12144]
  • 109. Moss, E. H. 1932. The vegetation of Alberta: IV. The poplar association and related vegetation of central Alberta. The Journal of Ecology. 20(2): 380-415. [63588]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 119. Potter, Loren D.; Moir, D. Ross. 1961. Phytosociological study of burned deciduous woods, Turtle Mountains North Dakota. Ecology. 42(3): 468-480. [10191]
  • 144. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 15. Bever, Wendell. 1952. The affect of silvicultural practices on the production of deer browse. Project No. 12-R-9. In: [Larger work unknown]. Brookings, SD: South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks: 27-31. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [16355]
  • 150. Stockrahm, Donna M. Bruns; Olson, Theresa Ebbenga; Harper, Elizabeth K. 1993. Plant species in black-tailed prairie dog towns in Billings County, North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 25(2): 173-183. [23167]
  • 161. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61: Cranbrook Institute of Science; University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan. 622 p. [30401]
  • 18. Bird, Ralph D. 1930. Biotic communities of the aspen parkland of central Canada. Ecology. 11(2): 356-442. [15277]
  • 22. Boggs, Keith; Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in northwestern Montana. Draft Version 1. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana Riparian Association. 217 p. [8447]
  • 25. Bowes, G. G.; Spurr, D. T. 1995. Improved forage production following western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.) control with metsulfuron methyl. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 75(4): 935-940. [67130]
  • 57. Gom, Lori A.; Rood, Stewart B. 1999. Fire induces clonal sprouting of riparian cottonwoods. Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(11): 1604-1616. [38169]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]
  • 65. Hansen, Paul L.; Boggs, Keith; Pfister, Robert D.; Joy, John; Cook, Brad. 1994. Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in Montana. In: Hamre, R. H., ed. Workshop on western wetlands and riparian areas: public/private efforts in recovery, management, and education: Proceedings; 1993 September 9-11; Snowbird, UT. Boulder, CO: Thorne Ecological Institute: 1-17. [27800]
  • 67. Hansen, Paul L.; Hoffman, George R. 1988. The vegetation of the Grand River/Cedar River, Sioux, and Ashland Districts of the Custer National Forest: a habitat type classification. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 68 p. [771]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: perfect, shrubs

Western snowberry primarily reproduces by rhizomes [1,35,60,79,83,117,122,147,151,152], but can also reproduce by seeds [1,24,25,122,151,159,164].

Pollination: Western snowberry is generally insect-pollinated [59,117]. However, self-pollination may take place when pollen falls on stigmas from horizontal or pendulous flowers [59].

Breeding system: Western snowberry has perfect flowers [144,147].

Seed production: There is little information on seed production of western snowberry. Near Minneapolis, Minnesota, mean fruit production of western snowberry increased with size and age [117].

Mean number of western snowberry fruits/stem in relation to stem height, diameter, and age [117]
Measurement Size or age class Total # of stems Mean # of fruits
Height (cm) 0-24 7 0
25-49 58 0
50-74 110 5.5
75-99 117 18.8
100-124 120 35.3
125 + 88 104.6
Diameter (cm) 0-0.19 13 0
0.20-0.39 139 2.1
0.40-0.59 174 15.3
0.60-0.79 102 53.3
0.80-0.99 43 142.4
1.0 + 21 174.3
Age (years) 1 114 4.1
2 116 19.9
3 45 22.2
4 67 26.9
5 114 62.5
6 + 37 75.3

Seed dispersal: Western snowberry seeds are dispersed primarily by small mammals and birds [103,117,149], though wind and water may play a small part in their dispersal. In a feeding trial, 10.7% of 150 western snowberry nutlets passed through the digestive tract of domestic chickens intact and viable. Western snowberry nutlets will float in water for approximately 48 hours before sinking [117].

Seed banking: Little information is available on western snowberry seed banking. Pelton [117] claims that western snowberry utilizes a seed bank "limitedly". The fruit of western snowberry can remain on the plant for a year or more [117].

Germination: Western snowberry has embryo dormancy, requiring an afterripening period for adequate germination [117]. Warm stratification at room temperature for 3 to 4 months followed by cold stratification at 41 °F (5 °C) for 4 to 6 months increases germination [72,117]. Pelton [117] notes that western snowberry seeds likely require more than 1 summer and winter in the soil to break dormancy.

Western snowberry seeds appear to favor cool season germination. Western snowberry seed germination rates under constant and alternating temperatures are presented below. In the alternating temperature experiment, the western snowberry seeds were exposed to the high temperature for 8 out of each 24 hours.

Percent germination of western snowberry seeds under alternating and constant temperatures [117]

Alternating temperatures (°C) -5/5 -5/10 5/10 5/15 5/20 10/15 10/20 10/25 15/20 15/25
Germination (%) 0 0 45.2 45.7 35.3 45.8 37.0 29.4 22.3 20.1
Constant temperatures (°C) 5 10 15 20 25
Germination (%) 35.5 44.1 40.1 18.7 5.9

Seedling establishment/growth: Western snowberry rarely establishes by seedlings [24,117,122]. In Minnesota, western snowberry seedlings growing in "poor" soil reached a height of 4 inches (9 cm) by the end of the first growing season. During the same time period, seedlings grown in "rich" potting loam reached a height of 18 inches (45 cm). While the seedlings in the potting loam grew "vigorously", they did not produce rhizomes or flowers during the first growing season [117]. In a review by Moles and Westoby [106], the cause of western snowberry seedling mortality during 1 growing season in a grazed pasture in Minnesota was discussed. Major mortality agents included fungal attack (18.9%), herbivory (32.8%), and drought (29.9%).

Vegetative regeneration: Western snowberry regenerates vegetatively by rhizomes [1,35,60,79,147,151,159]. It can be propagated by stem and root cuttings [159] and will sprout following mowing or cutting [164]. Research on other sprouting species indicates that development of new shoots on shrubs is controlled by apical dominance. The death of apical buds removes the hormonal control of lateral buds on rhizomes [6].

  • 1. Aikman, John M. 1926. Distribution and structure of the forests of eastern Nebraska. Nebraska University Studies. 26(1-2): 1-75. [6575]
  • 103. Merritt, David M.; Wohl, Ellen E. 2006. Plant dispersal along rivers fragmented by dams. River Research and Applications. 22: 1-26. [61821]
  • 106. Moles, Angela T.; Westoby, Mark. 2004. What do seedlings die from and what are the implications for evolution of seed size? Oikos. 106(1): 193-199. [48525]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 122. Ranson-Nelson, Theresa; Kirby, Don. 1984. Ecology of western snowberry in the Missouri Coteau. Proceedings, North Dakota Academy of Science. 38(38): 84. [67735]
  • 144. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 147. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 149. Stiles, Edmund W. 1980. Patterns of fruit presentation and seed dispersal in bird-disseminated woody plants in the eastern deciduous forest. The American Naturalist. 116(5): 670-688. [6508]
  • 151. Stubbendieck, James; Coffin, Mitchell J.; Landholt, L. M. 2003. Weeds of the Great Plains. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. 605 p. In cooperation with: University of Nebraska - Lincoln. [50776]
  • 152. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]
  • 159. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 164. Watson, L. E.; Parker, R. W.; Polster, D. F. 1980. Manual of plant species suitability for reclamation in Alberta. Vol. 2: Forbs, shrubs and trees. RRTAC 80-5. Edmonton, AB: Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 537 p. [8855]
  • 24. Bowes, G. G. 1991. Long-term control of aspen poplar and western snowberry with dicamba and 2,4-D. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 71(4): 1121-1131. [19502]
  • 25. Bowes, G. G.; Spurr, D. T. 1995. Improved forage production following western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.) control with metsulfuron methyl. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 75(4): 935-940. [67130]
  • 35. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 59. Graenicher, S. 1900. The fertilization of Symphoricarpos and Lonicera. Bulletin of the Wisconsin Natural History Society. 1: 141-156. [48171]
  • 6. Anderson, Murray L.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1979. Effect of fire on a Symphoricarpos occidentalis shrub community in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 2820-2823. [2867]
  • 60. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 72. Hidayati, Siti N.; Baskin, Jerry M.; Baskin, Carol C. 2001. Dormancy-breaking and germination requirements for seeds of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Caprifoliaceae). American Journal of Botany. 88(8): 1444-1451. [67141]
  • 79. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 83. Jones, George Neville. 1940. A monograph of the genus Symphoricarpos. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 21: 201-253. [13499]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

RAUNKIAER [123] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte
  • 123. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Flowering dates for western snowberry are presented below.

Western snowberry flowering periods in the United States and Canada
Illinois June-August [105]
Minnesota June-September [117]
Nebraska June-July [152]
New Mexico May-August [100,159]
Oklahoma May-July [159]
South Dakota June-July [163]
Texas May-July [159]
Great Plains June-August [60,151]
Intermountain West June-August [35]
North-central Plains June-August [147]
Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada June-August [56]
Pacific Northwest June-August [79]
Uinta Basin, Utah May-July [58]
Ontario July-August [144]

The fruiting period of western snowberry across its range is generally from August through October [144,147,159,163].

From 1979 to 1984 first-flowering dates and flowering periods for western snowberry were observed and reported in a mixed-grass prairie near Woodworth, Stutsman County, North Dakota. Flowering dates and periods for western snowberry are presented below [30].

First-flowering dates and periods for western snowberry [30]
Earliest first bloom Latest first bloom Median date of first 10 plants with flowers Median date of full flowering Median date when flowering 95% complete Length of flowering period
13 May 1980 10 July 1979 25 June 6 July 28 July 33 days

The phenological development of western snowberry in a prairie habitat northwest of Lincoln, Nebraska was observed by McMillan and Pagel [102] in 1956 and 1957.

Phenological development of western snowberry during 1956 and 1957 [102]
Observation year Leaf bud opening Initial anthesis
1956 26 March-21 April 16 June-22 July
1957 13 April-21 April 23 June-22 July
  • 100. Martin, William C.; Hutchins, Charles R. 1981. A flora of New Mexico. Volume 2. Germany: J. Cramer. 2589 p. [37176]
  • 102. McMillan, Calvin; Pagel, Beverly F. 1958. Phenological variation within a population of Symphoricarpos occidentalis. Ecology. 39(4): 766-770. [67146]
  • 105. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 144. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 147. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 151. Stubbendieck, James; Coffin, Mitchell J.; Landholt, L. M. 2003. Weeds of the Great Plains. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry. 605 p. In cooperation with: University of Nebraska - Lincoln. [50776]
  • 152. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]
  • 159. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 163. Walker, Scott C. [In press]. Symphoricarpos Duham.--snowberry, [Online]. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Nisley, Rebecca G.; Karrfait, R. P., coords. Woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handbook 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Producer). Available: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Symphoricarpos.pdf [2007, September 18]. [45112]
  • 30. Callow, J. Michael; Kantrud, Harold A.; Higgins, Kenneth F. 1992. First flowering dates and flowering periods of prairie plants at Woodworth, North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 24(2): 57-64. [20450]
  • 35. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; Reveal, James L.; Holmgren, Patricia K. 1984. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 4: Subclass Asteridae, (except Asteraceae). New York: The New York Botanical Garden. 573 p. [718]
  • 56. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 58. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 60. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 79. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Symphoricarpos occidentalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

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Information on state-level protected status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: controlled burn, cover, density, invasive species

Browsing:
Western snowberry is
generally considered a browsing "increaser" [25,95,117,152].

The effect of heavy cattle browsing on western snowberry in early and late summer following
burning was investigated on rough fescue grasslands at the University of Alberta Ranch
[11,50,51]. Following a controlled burn on 15 May 1979, plots were either grazed heavily
(5 AUM/ha leading to total removal of all edible
vegetation) from 5 to 17 July 1979 and 31 May to 13 June 1980 (early treatment) or grazed heavily
from 22 August to 1 September 1979 and 15 to 23 August 1980 (late treatment)
[11,50,51]. Western snowberry production and density were generally greater on
late grazing sites.
Western snowberry production and density
under early and late grazing treatments [11,50,51]
Measurement dateGrazing treatmentProduction (kg/ha±SE)*Density (plants/m²)
May 1980Early41721.6
Late631±50131.2
August 1981Early52428.2
Late1,364±1,07323.1
July 1981Early79236.1
Late1,394±77046.9

*Standard error not given for early treatment

At the Central Grasslands Research Station in south-central North Dakota, western snowberry
communities were subjected to 3 different grazing treatments (short duration, season-long,
and twice-over rotation) between 1982 and 1986. The 3 treatments did not significantly alter
western snowberry density, but western snowberry cover was significantly (P<0.05)
reduced with the exception of the short duration treatment from 1982 to 1986. Further, western
snowberry standing crop significantly increased on the short duration treatment. With little
overall change between 1982 and 1986, the researchers suggest that western snowberry communities
on the study site were relatively stable under the environmental and biological conditions present
at the time of the study [87].
Herbicides: Western snowberry can be controlled
by 2,4-D and metsulfuron methyl [24,25,25,45].
Insects: On a mixed-grass
prairie at the Central Grasslands Research Center in south-central North Dakota,
western snowberry was associated with white grub infestations. The infestation decreased
grass standing crop 92% and facilitated a significant (P<0.05) increase in
density of western snowberry for at least 1 year [98].
Invasive species: Western snowberry is an
effective competitor for water against lens-podded hoary cress (Cardaria chalapensis)
and globe-podded hoary cress (C. pubescens). On dry farming land in Saskatchewan, the
extensive rhizome/root system of western snowberry was able to utilize subsoil moisture, thus
reducing cover of both invasive species [137,138].
Mowing: Mowing western snowberry can partially
control its spread. Near Lincoln, Nebraska, western snowberry was mowed annually in May while plants
were in full leaf and new sprouts were 4 to 10 inches (10-30 cm) tall. In May of 1954, the
fourth consecutive year of mowing, western snowberry cover was reduced by 30% to 52% [45].
  • 11. Bailey, A. W.; Irving, B. D.; Fitzgerald, R. D. 1990. Regeneration of woody species following burning and grazing in aspen parkland. Journal of Range Management. 43(3): 212-215. [11775]
  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 137. Selleck, G. W. 1964. A competition study of Cardaria spp. and Centaurea repens. Proceedings, 7th British Weed Control Conference. 7: 569-576. [39237]
  • 138. Selleck, G. W. 1965. An ecological study of lens- and globe-podded hoary cresses in Saskatchewan. Weeds. 12: 1-5. [45504]
  • 152. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]
  • 24. Bowes, G. G. 1991. Long-term control of aspen poplar and western snowberry with dicamba and 2,4-D. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 71(4): 1121-1131. [19502]
  • 25. Bowes, G. G.; Spurr, D. T. 1995. Improved forage production following western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook.) control with metsulfuron methyl. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 75(4): 935-940. [67130]
  • 45. Elwell, Harry M. 1954. Control of brush on rangeland and pastures. Proceedings, 11th Annual North Central Weed Control Conference. Research Reports. 11: 124-127. [48420]
  • 50. Fitzgerald, R. D.; Bailey, A. W. 1984. Control of aspen regrowth by grazing with cattle. Journal of Range Management. 37(2): 156-158. [67293]
  • 51. Fitzgerald, R. D.; Hudson, R. J.; Bailey, A. W. 1986. Grazing preferences of cattle in regenerating aspen forest. Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 13-18. [67296]
  • 87. Kirby, Donald R.; Sturn, Gerald M.; Ransom-Nelson, Theresa A. 1988. Effects of grazing on western snowberry communities in North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 20(3): 161-169. [6799]
  • 95. Lewis, James K.; Van Dyne, George M.; Albee, Leslie R.; Whetzal, Frank W. 1956. Intensity of grazing: Its effect on livestock and forage production. Bulletin 459. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 44 p. [11737]
  • 98. Lura, Charles L.; Nyren, Paul E. 1992. Some effects of a white grub infestation on northern mixed-grass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 45(4): 352-354. [67128]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Western snowberry produces an extensive rhizome/root system, making it an excellent soil binder for the prevention of erosion [63,147,159,163,164]. It is also a good species for restoring disturbed sites [63,107,118,128,145]. If western snowberry is used to rehabilitate erosive sites, complete grazing exclusion may be necessary during establishment [63].

A western snowberry cultivar ('common') is available [111].

  • 107. Monsen, Stephen B. 1983. Plants for revegetation of riparian sites within the Intermountain region. In: Monsen, Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, comps. Managing Intermountain rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings of symposia; 1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 83-89. [9652]
  • 111. Munda, P.; Pater, M. 2001. Commercial sources of conservation plant materials, [Online]. Tuscon, AZ: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tucson Plant Materials Center (Producer). Available: http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/azpmsarseedlist0501.pdf [2003, August 25]. [44989]
  • 118. Plummer, A. Perry. 1977. Revegetation of disturbed Intermountain area sites. In: Thames, J. C., ed. Reclamation and use of disturbed lands of the Southwest. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 302-337. [27411]
  • 128. Revel, Richard D. 1993. Canada's rough fescue grasslands. Restoration & Management Notes. 11(2): 117-124. [30472]
  • 145. Stanton, Frank. 1974. Wildlife guidelines for range fire rehabilitation. Tech. Note 6712. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 90 p. [2221]
  • 147. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804]
  • 159. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 163. Walker, Scott C. [In press]. Symphoricarpos Duham.--snowberry, [Online]. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Nisley, Rebecca G.; Karrfait, R. P., coords. Woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handbook 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Producer). Available: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Symphoricarpos.pdf [2007, September 18]. [45112]
  • 164. Watson, L. E.; Parker, R. W.; Polster, D. F. 1980. Manual of plant species suitability for reclamation in Alberta. Vol. 2: Forbs, shrubs and trees. RRTAC 80-5. Edmonton, AB: Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 537 p. [8855]
  • 63. Hall, James B.; Hansen, Paul L. 1997. A preliminary riparian habitat type classification system for the Bureau of Land Management districts in southern and eastern Idaho. Tech. Bull. No. 97-11. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management; Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry, Riparian and Wetland Research Program. 381 p. [28173]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, shrub

Livestock: In the eastern part of its range, western snowberry is rarely eaten by livestock, even when other forage is scarce [117]. Yet in the western part of its range, western snowberry is considered an important livestock browse species [117,122,145,158,159], particularly during winter [117,145]. Western snowberry is often more heavily utilized by livestock and wildlife in the first few years following fire [135]. Western snowberry may also be browsed by domestic goats [86]. Stands of western snowberry can become so thick that they exclude livestock and wildlife [63].

Small mammals/birds/insects: The fruits of western snowberry are an important source of food for some small mammals and birds [40]. Upland game birds heavily utilize western snowberry fruits since they persist on the plant through the winter [63,82,117,147]. In Minnesota, western snowberry fruits are eaten by waterfowl [117]. Western snowberry flowers are also a valued bee food [145,159].

Ungulates: Western snowberry is an important forage species for elk, mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and moose [22,36,38,39,44,47,89,99,108,113]. In the Bridger Mountains of Montana, antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) and western snowberry are the 2 most important fall browse species for mule deer [168]. Western snowberry was the most important browse plant for white-tailed deer on the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, in north central Montana, during a yearlong study from June 1964 to June 1965. Western snowberry was found in 100% of summer, fall, and winter rumen samples and 85% of spring samples. Utilization of western snowberry is greatest in fall (55% total rumen sample volume), followed by winter (25%), summer (19%), and spring (10%) [2]. Western snowberry is a principal food source for white-tailed and mule deer in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. An analysis of stomach contents showed that the frequency of occurrence of western snowberry ranged from a high of 62% for the period May through September to a low of 45% for the period October to December [76,77,117].

Palatability/nutritional value:
The palatability of western snowberry for cattle and domestic sheep is generally rated as "fair" [22,40,63,151] and "poor" for horses [22,40]. Western snowberry palatability for deer and elk is rated as "good" [40,63,76].

In northwestern Montana, western snowberry provides "fair" energy and protein value for livestock and wildlife [22]. The nutritional value for ungulates, small mammals, and birds in 5 western states is rated as follows [40]:

Western snowberry nutritional value rating [40]
Species Utah Colorado Wyoming Montana North Dakota
Elk Good Poor Fair Fair N.D.
Mule deer Good Poor Fair Good Fair
White-tailed deer N.D. N.D. Good Good Fair
Pronghorn N.D. N.D. Fair Fair Fair
Upland game birds Good N.D. Good Fair Fair
Waterfowl Poor N.D. Poor N.D. Poor
Small nongame birds Fair N.D. Good Fair N.D.
Small mammals Good N.D. Good Fair N.D.
N.D. = No Data

At the Ministik Wildlife Research Station near Edmonton, Alberta, seasonal changes in percent digestibility and crude protein of western snowberry leaves were measured in an aspen-dominated boreal forest [127].

Seasonal digestibility and crude protein of western snowberry leaves [127]
  Late spring Summer Autumn
Digestibility (%) 57.4 61.3 59.5
Crude protein (%) 15.0 17.5 12.3

The cellulose and protein content of western snowberry at 3 stages of growth were evaluated in a rough fescue community in southwestern Alberta [16].

Nutritional content of western snowberry during 3 stages of growth [16]
Growth stage Cellulose (%) Digestible protein (%)
Leafing 15.5 4.0
Flowering 19.2 1.8
Seed ripe 15.5 1.1

Western snowberry fruit is an important fall and early winter food for sharp-tailed grouse. As the fruits dry, however, their nutritional value decreases substantially. Western snowberry fruit taken from the plant in South Dakota during fall, at a time when it is fed upon by sharp-tailed grouse, provided 4.916 kcal/g and 5.5% crude protein [46].

Composition of western snowberry on 4 dates in 1945 on the Black Hills, South Dakota [52]
Date Moisture (%) Carotene (µg/g) Ash (%) Crude fat (%) Crude protein (%) Crude fiber (%) N-Free extract (%) Ca (%) P (%) Fe (ppm) Mn (ppm)
18 January 36.80 13.54 2.38 1.28 3.32 23.20 33.02 0.36 0.072 165.82 61.76
16 May 58.01 4.01 2.02 1.06 5.42 12.75 20.74 0.26 0.166 128.41 39.95
27 June 66.12 40.62 2.26 1.24 4.46 5.41 20.51 0.21 0.15 40.83 8.71
22 October 54.01 14.35 2.67 2.20 2.99 5.77 32.36 0.54 0.144 87.88 28.31

Cover value: Western snowberry communities provide cover for a variety of animal species, particularly small mammals and birds [10,22,73,117,122,132,147]. The narrowleaf cottonwood/western snowberry and black cottonwood/western snowberry grazing disclimax communities along streams provides cover for fish and other aquatic species [63]. Given the shrub's height, western snowberry only provides "poor" to "fair" cover for large ungulates [22,40].

Western snowberry stands are common nesting sites for waterfowl, wild turkeys, and sharp-tailed grouse [97,120,133]. In south-central North Dakota, western snowberry was found to occur at 62.8% of all sharp-tailed grouse nesting sites [61]. In northeastern South Dakota, western snowberry is an important cover species for nesting female Rio Grande and eastern wild turkeys. While shrub vegetation (primarily western snowberry) was the least available vegetation type (10%) at the study site, 54% of females chose this vegetation type for nesting cover [94].

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Other uses and values

Western snowberry was used by Native Americans for food, arrow shafts, brooms, and treatment of certain eye diseases [117,139,152].

Western snowberry is used as an ornamental [81,159].

  • 117. Pelton, John. 1953. Studies on the life-history of Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook, in Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 23(1): 17-39. [11957]
  • 139. Shay, C. Thomas. 1986. Plants and people: past ethnobotany of the northeastern prairie. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings of the 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 1-7. [61018]
  • 152. Stubbendieck, James; Nichols, James T.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1989. Nebraska range and pasture forbs and shrubs (including succulent plants). Extension Circular 89-118. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Nebraska Cooperative Extension. 153 p. [10168]
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  • 81. Johnson, E. W. 1963. Ornamental shrubs for the southern Great Plains. Farmer's Bull. 2025. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 62 p. [12064]

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Wikipedia

Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Symphoricarpos occidentalis, commonly called Western snowberry or Wolfberry, is a woody species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family. Wolfberry is not to be confused with the Lycium species of the same common name.

Description[edit]

Symphoricarpos occidentalis is a creeping shrub, with pink, rounded to bell-shaped flowers and spherical or bulbous shaped, white or pink-tinted fruits.

Distribution[edit]

Symphoricarpos occidentalis is native across much of North America.[1]

Cultivation[edit]

Western snowberry is grown for use in native plant and wildlife gardens, and as a bird food plant in habitat landscapes.[citation needed] It is considered to be a weed in certain situations.[1]

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The scientific name of western snowberry is Symphoricarpos occidentalis Hook. (Caprifoliaceae) [23,35,56,58,60,78,84,90,100,161]. There are no western snowberry varieties or
subspecies.
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Common Names

western snowberry

western wolfberry

wolfberry

buckbrush

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