coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)
Symphoricarpos symphoricarpos (L.) MacMill.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of corralberry is
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus Moench.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States; Introduced, Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: 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.
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.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Coralberry propogates itself by reseeding.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Coralberry adapts to partial sun, moist
to dry conditions, and a loamy or rocky soil.
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Corralberry is similar to other periphical
shrubs - it does well in initial and mid - successional stages, but does not
generally do well in later successional stages where sunlight is limited. It
tends to grow best in those environments not directly associated with
typical woodland settings; it is often encountered just outside or on the
margin of forest settings.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs during the
summer (June - July).
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Corralberry is primarily a species of the
eastern United States, ranging from Florida to the southern portion of New
England, and extending west to Texas and north to South Dakota. It has
been reported occurring in only one Canadian province - Ontario.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION:
Shrub specimens can be found on trails marked in red.
Appalachian Trail/Old Trail
South Ridge/North Ridge
Rolling Meadows/ Lost Mountain
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES: Habitats include
thin rocky woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, areas along
woodland paths, powerline clearances in wooded areas, thickets, and lime-
stone 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.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: 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 abun-
dant leaves, this shrub provides good cover for wildlife.
Crooked Run Valley