Common Snowberry
Chiococca alba

Snowberry

There are three forms of snowberry and I consider them to be separate species. Common snowberry, Chiococca alba, is native from the Keys to Brevard County along the coast. It is the most common species and tends to climb up trees or form a mound of vines.

The pinetorum species is small leaved and found in the pine rocklands. This is considered a form of the parvifolia species although I consider it a separate species.

The other form of the parvifolia species is a ground cover found in the upper keys. This has 1.5 inch leaves that are the same size as alba, yet the stems form a low matt that makes an excellent ground cover in shady to sunny locations. I consider parvifolia to be a separate species.

These species belong to the coffee family and have shiny, dark green leaves.

When in bloom, the creamy fragrant flowers of all species attract unusual butterflies like the ruddy daggerwing shown here. The clean white quarter inch fruit hang in clusters and are very attractive to birds in late summer. They are not poisonous or tasty.

Moderate salt air, short periods of freezing temperatures, deep shade to full sun and a month or two of drought are all tolerated by this plant.

Plant the common snowberry in rich, dry soil with organic matter. Let it climb up the boots of a sabal palm or other shrubs. When planting a mixed hedge, plant this in the front to add an attractive layer. Plant the parvifolia species along the north side of the house as a ground cover.