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Common snowberry, Milkberry
Chiococca alba
Rubiaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also good for buffer plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A common element in forest edges and gaps. Can become aggressive and should be used with caution. May attract bird dispersers, which may have a positive benefit.
Availability:
Native plant nurseries.
Available in Largo at Wilcox Nursery and Landscape (727-595-2073).
Description:
Large clambering vinelike shrub with 4-angled branches forming a large mound or climbing high into other vegetation. Bark yellowish-gray, marked by deposits of cork. Leaves bright green, thin, 1-3 inches long.
Dimensions:
Typically 6-10 feet or more in height. Usually as broad as tall or broader.
Growth Rate:
Moderate to fast.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north mostly along the coasts to Duval and Dixie counties; Bermuda, West Indies, Texas, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Habitats:
Hammocks and thickets.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
Drought Tolerance:
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements:
Light shade.
Flower Color:
Generally yellow, sometimes white or peach.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy bell-shaped flowers in two-ranked rows. Fragrant.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak spring-summer.
Fruit:
Clusters of attractive white, drupelike berries.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for julia (Dryas iulia) and other butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Grown from seed. Remove pulp from seeds and place in pot with 2" or more of soil. Barely cover seeds with soil. Place in light shade and keep moist.
Comments:
Although somewhat unorthodox in form, common snowberrry can be very beautiful in bloom and even more so in fruit. However, it can be aggressive and some caution is in order. Synonyms: some authors place C. parvifolia into C. alba but we treat them as two separate species.


 


Roger L. Hammer
Kristen Finch
In Habitat, Juno Dunes Natural Area, FL, 2013
George D. Gann
George D. Gann
Kristen Finch
In Habitat, Juno Dunes Natural Area, FL, 2013
Keith A. Bradley
Shirley Denton
George D. Gann

Keith A. Bradley