Shrub to 1.5 m tall Leaves: opposite, 2 - 4 cm long, oval or egg-shaped, rounded or blunt at both ends, hairy beneath. Flowers: stalkless or nearly so, in dense clusters borne in uppermost axils. Corolla greenish to purplish, 2 - 4 mm long, bell-shaped, swollen on one side. Lobes half as long as tube. Fruit: berry-like (drupe), in rounded clusters, coral-pink to purple, 5 - 7 mm long. There are two stones inside each drupe. Twigs: slender, purplish, hairy above.
Similar species: Symphoricarpos albus and S. occidentalis are similar but have larger, pinkish corollas (to 9 mm long) and drupes that are white to greenish white.
Flowering: July to early September
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from farther south. Local in disturbed wooded areas, such as floodplains, where it has escaped cultivation. It also occurs on berms along canals and railroads.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Symphoricarpos comes from the Greek words symphoreo, meaning "born together," and karpos, meaning fruit (in reference to the clustered fruits). Orbiculatus means round.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
In Indiana generally called buckbush. It is native, probably only in the southern half of the state although it is now found as an escape in the northern part. Since it is freely planted and produces an abundance of fruit, it is strange that it does not escape more often than it has.
Branching shrub to 1.5 m, the slender purplish stems hairy above; lvs oval or ovate, 2-4 cm, obtuse or rounded at both ends, hairy beneath; fls in dense clusters from the uppermost axils, sessile or nearly so; cor 2-4 mm, the lobes half as long as the tube; anthers and villous style included; fr red, persistent, 5-7 mm; 2n=18. Dry or rocky soil and margins of woods; Conn. to N.C. and La., w. to Mich. and Colo. June-Aug. (S. symphoricarpos)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.