A bushy rhizomatous shrub widely naturalised in woodland, scrub, hedgerows and on waste ground; also formerly quite widely planted as cover for game in woodland. It reproduces by suckering and fruits freely, but rarely regenerates from seed. It spreads very slowly; dense thickets are normally the result of close initial planting. 0-385 m (Forest-in-Teesdale, Co. Durham).
S. albus was introduced into cultivation in Britain in 1817, and was known from the wild by 1863. Since the 1962 Atlas it has consolidated its position almost everywhere.
Native of N. America; the plant naturalised here is the western var. laevigatus.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
1980. Trees and shrubs hardy in the British Isles, edn 8, IV. Ri-Z.
1963. Garden shrubs and their histories.
1995. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 184. Symphoricarpos albus (L.) S.F. Blake. Journal of Ecology. 83:159-166.