Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This branching native shrub is 2-4' tall. The trunk and lower branches are woody and brown; they are covered with strips of loose shaggy bark. The middle to upper branches are reddish purple to brown and variably hairy. The blades of the opposite leaves are up to 2" long and 1¼" across; they are oval-ovate and smooth along their margins. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green and hairless to slightly pubescent, while the lower surface is whitish green and slightly pubescent to very pubescent. Each leaf has a short petiole up to ¼" long. At the axils of some leaves, there develops dense clusters of pinkish or purplish green flowers. Each flower is about ¼" long, consisting of a short tubular corolla with 5 lobes, a green calyx with 5 teeth, and an inferior ovary that is green and globoid-ovoid in shape. Inside the corolla, there are 5 stamens surrounding a hairy style. The blooming period occurs during the summer. Each flower is replaced by a berry containing 2 seeds. The mature berries are about ¼" long, reddish purple, and ovoid-globoid in shape; the texture of their flesh is somewhat dry. The seeds are oblongoid and flattened. The root system consists of a woody branching taproot.
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Comments

Coralberry is a rather small sprawling shrub with attractive foliage and berries. It is an easy shrub to identify in natural areas, particularly during the fall, because of the purplish red berries. Other Symphoricarpos spp. (Snowberry, Wolfberry) in Illinois have white or greenish white berries. A related group of plants, Lonicera spp. (Honeysuckles), are either vines or upright shrubs. Like Coralberry, Honeysuckles often produce berries in clusters near the leaves, but their berries are usually bright red and more juicy. Generally, the corollas of Honeysuckle flowers are larger in size than those of Coralberry, and they have long slender lobes. All of these plants produce pairs of opposite leaves on woody stems; the margins of their leaves are smooth or slightly wavy, but they never have teeth, unlike the leaves of many other shrubs. Another common name of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is Buckbrush, which refers to the attractiveness of this shrub to deer as a food plant.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Coralberry is occasional to locally common in the southern half of Illinois, becoming less common or absent in the northern half of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include thin rocky woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, areas along woodland paths, powerline clearances in wooded areas, thickets, and limestone glades. Sometimes this shrub is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, from which it occasionally escapes. Disturbance in wooded areas is beneficial if it reduces excessive shade from overhead trees.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Symphoricarpos symphoricarpos (L.) MacMill.:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus Moench:
United States (North America)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Coralberry is occasional to locally common in the southern half of Illinois, becoming less common or absent in the northern half of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include thin rocky woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, areas along woodland paths, powerline clearances in wooded areas, thickets, and limestone glades. Sometimes this shrub is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, from which it occasionally escapes. Disturbance in wooded areas is beneficial if it reduces excessive shade from overhead trees.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Coralberry in Illinois

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)
(Bees usually suck nectar, although some bees collect pollen, as noted below; other insects suck nectar; all observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn cp fq, Bombus pensylvanica sn cp, Bombus vagans sn cp; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys octodentata sn, Coelioxys sayi sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile campanulae campanulae sn, Megachile mendica sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn fq, Augochlora purus sn fq, Augochlorella aurata sn fq, Augochlorella striata sn fq, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn fq, Halictus confusus sn, Halictus ligatus sn, Halictus parallelus sn, Halictus rubicunda sn fq, Lasioglossum coreopsis sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum cressonii sn fq, Lasioglossum forbesii sn, Lasioglossum foxii sn, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn, Lasioglossum obscurus sn fq, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn fq, Lasioglossum tegularis sn fq, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn fq; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes dichroa sn fq, Sphecodes heraclei heraclei sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes nudus sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn, Hylaeus modestus modestus sn fq

Wasps
Sphecidae (Bembecinae): Bicyrtes quadrifasciata, Stizus brevipennis; Sphecidae (Craboninae): Oxybelus mexicanus; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Liris argentata, Tachytes aurulenta; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi fq, Ammophila nigricans fq, Eremnophila aureonotata, Isodontia apicalis, Isodontia philadelphica, Sphex ichneumonea, Sphex nudus, Sphex pensylvanica; Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta; Philanthidae: Cerceris clypeata fq, Cerceris compacta, Cerceris fumipennis, Philanthus gibbosus fq; Pompilidae: Anoplius lepidus fq, Entypus unifasciatus, Episyron biguttatus, Poecilopompilus interrupta; Vespidae: Polistes annularis, Polistes dorsalis, Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Eumenes fraterna fq, Euodynerus annulatus, Euodynerus foraminatus fq, Euodynerus megaera, Leionotus scrophulariae (Rb, MS), Leionotus ziziae (Rb, MS), Monobia quadridens, Parancistrocerus fulvipes, Parancistrocerus perennis, Pseudodynerus quadrisectus, Stenodynerus anormis, Stenodynerus histrionalis, Stenodynerus oculeus fq, Zethus spinipes

Flies
Culicidae: Aedes vexans; Stratiomyidae: Nemotelus glaber, Stratiomys meigenii; Syrphidae: Eristalis tenax, Eristalis transversus, Mallota bautias, Milesia virginiensis, Orthonevra nitida fq, Parhelophilus laetus, Spilomyia longicornis, Syritta pipiens fq, Toxomerus geminatus fq, Toxomerus marginatus, Trichopsomyia apisaon, Tropidia albistylum, Tropidia quadrata; Empididae: Empis clausa fq; Bombyliidae: Exoprosopa fascipennis; Conopidae: Physoconops brachyrhynchus, Thecophora occidensis; Tachinidae: Archytas analis fq, Archytas aterrima, Belvosia bifasciata, Belvosia unifasciata, Copecrypta ruficauda, Cylindromyia dosiades, Cylindromyia euchenor, Linnaemya comta, Phorantha magna (Robertson, MS), Siphona geniculata, Spallanzania hesperidarum, Trichopoda pennipes, Xanthomelanodes arcuatus; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria, Lucilia illustris; Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina fq

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus

Beetles
Mordellidae: Mordella marginata sn, Mordellistena pubescens

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Faunal Associations

The flowers attract bees, wasps, and flies primarily. These insects suck nectar from the flowers, although some of the bees also collect pollen. The caterpillars of the moths Hemaris diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing), Hemaris thysbe (Hummingbird Clearwing), and Hesperumia sulphuraria (Sulfur Moth) feed on the foliage of Coralberry and other Symphoricarpos spp. The aphid Apathargelia symphoricarpi and the thrips Thrips winnemanae suck juices from the undersides of the leaves. The berries persist into the fall and winter and are eaten primarily by Robins (Turdus migratorius); the buds and berries are also eaten by the Bobwhite. Coralberry is a favorite food plant of the White-Tailed Deer and it is often heavily browsed. Because of its dense branching habit and abundant leaves, this shrub provides good cover for wildlife.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 10
Specimens with Barcodes: 12
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Coralberry adapts to partial sun, moist to dry conditions, and a loamy or rocky soil.
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Wikipedia

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, commonly called coralberry, buckbrush or Indian currant is a woody species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family.

Description

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is an erect shrub, with greenish-white purple-tinged flowers and rounded pink to purple fruits. The leaves are oval shaped, and arranged oppositely along the branches.[1] "S. orbiculatus" can reach a height of 6 feet, but is typically 3 - 4 feet.[2]

Distribution

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus is native to the Eastern United States and Canada, and is mostly found east of the Rocky Mountains.[3]

References


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