SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus

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Symphoricarpos longiflorus: INTRODUCTORY

INTRODUCTORY

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus

1997 Larry Blakely

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
McWilliams, Jack D. 2005. Symphoricarpos longiflorus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
SYMLON

SYNONYMS:
None

NRCS PLANT CODE [55]:
SYLO

COMMON NAMES:
longflower snowberry
desert snowberry

TAXONOMY:
The currently accepted scientific name for longflower snowberry is Symphoricarpos longiflorus Gray (Caprifoliaceae) [11,22,24,57,58]. There are no recognized varieties or forms.

Because of the paucity of specific information on longflower snowberry, some reference is made to the genus of snowberries (Symphoricarpos spp.) in this review.

LIFE FORM:
Shrub

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
None

OTHER STATUS:
None


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Longflower snowberry occurs from southeastern Oregon to Colorado, Utah, Texas, and southeastern California [22,60].

Plants database provides a distributional map of longflower snowberry.

The following lists include North American ecosystems, habitat types, and forest and range cover types in which longflower snowberry may occur. These lists are not necessarily exhaustive or completely inclusive. More information is needed regarding areas where longflower snowberry may be part of the flora.

ECOSYSTEMS [16]:
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

STATES/PROVINCES: (key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AZ CA CO
ID NV NM
OR TX UT

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [5]:
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
10 Wyoming Basin
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

KUCHLER [28] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K039 Blackbrush
K055 Sagebrush steppe

SAF COVER TYPES [13]:
209 Bristlecone pine
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
235 Cottonwood-willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak
242 Mesquite
247 Jeffrey pine

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [49]:
101 Bluebunch wheatgrass
102 Idaho fescue
104 Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
105 Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
210 Bitterbrush
212 Blackbush
302 Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass
304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue
316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue
317 Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
318 Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
319 Bitterbrush-rough fescue
320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue
322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass
324 Threetip sagebrush-Idaho fescue
401 Basin big sagebrush
402 Mountain big sagebrush
403 Wyoming big sagebrush
404 Threetip sagebrush
405 Black sagebrush
406 Low sagebrush
407 Stiff sagebrush
408 Other sagebrush types
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
417 Littleleaf mountain-mahogany
420 Snowbrush
421 Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
There is little in the current literature (2005) describing habitat types or plant communities where longflower snowberry occurs. What information is available centers on sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) communities.

In a description of northern Nevada sagebrush plant associations, Zamora and Tueller [65] list plants occurring with longflower snowberry. Shrubs occurring with longflower snowberry in northern Nevada include low sagebrush (A. arbuscula), big sagebrush (A. tridentata), fringed sagebrush (A. frigida), black sagebrush (A. nova), green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), and gray horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens). Grasses associated with longflower snowberry in northern Nevada are bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda), and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis).

Issacson [21] lists Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), and Idaho fescue as plants associated with longflower snowberry in the pinyon-juniper woodlands of central Nevada and Utah.

Classifications describing plant communities in which longflower snowberry is a dominant species are:

Nevada [6,7,59,63]


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g. [11,22,24,57,58]).

Longflower snowberry is a native, perennial shrub mostly 20 to 39 inches (50-100 cm) tall [58]. Low spreading branches 20 to 39 inches (50-100 cm) long [22] are commonly spread at right angles to the stem [58]. Older branches become fibrous and shreddy [57], and smaller twigs tend to persist so plants may be "somewhat thorny" [11]. The deciduous leaves are simple and opposite [57]. Perfect flowers [22] are solitary or paired in leaf axils, or in small, terminal, few-flowered racemes [58] and produce a berry-like drupe with 2 nutlets [57].

RAUNKIAER [44] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Information concerning regeneration of longflower snowberry is scant. Vines [57] states longflower snowberry can be propagated by seeds. Bradley and others [8] describe longflower snowberry has having a root crown and rhizomes that sprout after fire. Presumably, sprouting would occur after other forms of disturbance.

McArthur and others [33] state all species of snowberry establish readily from seed and cuttings from wild plants and that plants spread rapidly by layering.

Breeding system: Snowberries produce perfect flowers [22] so are considered monoecious.

Pollination: No information is available on this topic.

Seed production: No information is available on this topic.

Seed dispersal: There are no direct references to seed dispersal of longflower snowberry in the available literature as of this writing (2005). The seeds of longflower snowberry are eaten by birds, especially the gallinaceous birds such as ring-necked pheasants, grouse, and quail [57]. In a study of western snowberry (S. occidentalis), Pelton [40] concluded that "at least some" of western snowberry nutlets would survive passing through the digestive system of birds, so birds could act as seed dispersal agents. Since the nutlets of longflower snowberry are similar to those of western snowberry, birds likely play a part in seed dispersal of longflower snowberry. McArthur and others [33] state mice and other small rodents cache seeds of snowberries, and plants are widely established from these caches [41].

Since snowberries produce drupes as a fruit, it is reasonable to assume wind plays little role in longflower snowberry seed dispersal. Pelton [40], in a discussion of western snowberry, states, "Wind is probably of very minor importance in dispersal."

Seed banking: There is no information in the literature concerning longflower snowberry and seed banking. Snowberries in general have a tough seed coat and a partially developed embryo, which sometimes delays germination [41]. This delay in germination may provide a small, temporary seed bank. Morgan and Neuenschwander [37] reported finding seeds of both common snowberry (S. albus) and creeping snowberry (S. mollis) in the seed bank after clearcutting and broadcast burning in northern Idaho. The authors comment that seeds of neither species had been reported in previous seed bank studies.

Germination: As of this writing (2005), there is no information available concerning germination of longflower snowberry seeds. Stanton [51] discusses germination of mountain snowberry (S. oreophilus), a plant very similar to longflower snowberry, and states mountain snowberry has a seed germination rate of 67% to 78%.

Seedling establishment/growth: No information is available on this topic.

Asexual regeneration: Bradley and others [8] state longflower snowberry has a root crown and rhizomes that sprout after fire. Additionally, all species of snowberry spread rapidly by layering [33,41]

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Longflower snowberry has narrow ecological boundaries and is usually found on xeric sites [33]. Longflower snowberry is common on dry, rocky soils in desert areas of southern Utah [60]. In the White Mountains of California, longflower snowberry occurs on granitic substrate at an elevation from 9,500 to 10,000 feet (2,896-3,048 m) [62].

Reported elevational ranges for longflower snowberry in some states where it occurs are:

State Elevation Reference
Arizona 4,000 to 8,000 feet (1,219-2,498 m) [25]
California 4,429 to 5,249 feet (1,350-1,600 m) [20]
4,500 to 10,000 feet (1,392-3,048 m) [38]
Colorado about 5,000 feet (1,524 m) [18]
Nevada 3,800 to 7,500 feet (1,158-2,286 m) [24]
New Mexico 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,829-2,438 m) [32]
Texas 5,000 to 6,500 feet (1,524-1,981 m) [42]
Utah 3,002 to 9,514 feet (915-2,900 m) [58]

Stanton [51] describes the minimum mean annual precipitation for longflower snowberry occurrence as 8 to 9 inches (203-229 mm).

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Bradley and others [8] describe postfire successional patterns in late-successional juniper woodlands in western Utah, and longflower snowberry is listed as an understory shrub in these woodlands. After fire the shrub stage of succession occurs in mid- to late-seral development but before the late-successional stage of a closed juniper woodland.

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Flowering dates for longflower snowberry are:

State Flowering dates
Arizona April to August [25]
Nevada May to June [24]
New Mexico May to August [32]
Texas May to August [42,57]


FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: Bradley and others [8] state longflower snowberry has a root crown and rhizomes that sprout after fire.

Fire regimes: Bradley and others [8] place longflower snowberry within a fire group in Utah that consists of late-successional stands dominated by pinyon, juniper or both. In the presettlement era, fire was a relatively common event in pinyon-juniper stands. Fire increased productivity of understory species like longflower snowberry. Specific fire history studies of pinyon-juniper are few, with none focusing on Utah, but the literature contains studies of fire history of pinyon-juniper stands in other areas.

Leopold [31] suggests fire occurred at intervals of 10 to 30 years for Colorado pinyon-alligator juniper (P. edulis-J. deppeana) in Arizona. On 4 study sites in the climax western juniper (J. occidentalis) stands of southwestern Idaho, fire-free intervals were 23, 18, 8, and 11 years between the years 1840 and 1910 [9]. Moir [35] believed that Mexican pinyon (P. cembroides) stands in the Chisos Mountains of Texas could be maintained in a "natural" condition by fire occurring every "50 years or so."

The following list provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where longflower snowberry is important. It may not be inclusive. If you are interested in plant communities or ecosystems that are not listed, see the complete FEIS Fire Regime Table.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
silver sagebrush steppe Artemisia cana 5-45 [19,43,61]
sagebrush steppe Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [39]
basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata 12-43 [45]
mountain big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana 15-40 [2,9,34]
Wyoming big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis 10-70 (40**) [56,64]
California montane chaparral Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp. 50-100 [39]
curlleaf mountain-mahogany* Cercocarpus ledifolius 13-1,000 [3,47]
mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii < 35 to < 100
blackbrush Coleogyne ramosissima < 35 to < 100
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70
Rocky Mountain juniper Juniperus scopulorum < 35
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. < 35 [39]
Mexican pinyon Pinus cembroides 20-70 [35,53]
Colorado pinyon Pinus edulis 10-400+ [15,17,26,39]
Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi 5-30 [1]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30  [1,4,30]
Arizona pine Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica 2-15 [4,10,48]
oak-juniper woodland (Southwest) Quercus-Juniperus spp. < 35 to < 200 [39]
interior live oak Quercus wislizenii < 35 [1]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review
**mean

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [52]:
Small shrub, adventitious bud/root crown
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)


FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Although no specific information about the immediate effect of fire on longflower snowberry is available, it is most likely top-killed by fire.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
No additional information is available on this topic.

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE:
Longflower snowberry sprouts from on-site surviving root crown and rhizomes [8].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
Bradley and others [8] describe the sprouting response of longflower snowberry to fire as "poorly documented." In an earlier study, Klebenow and Beall [27] discuss a prescribed burn in an unnamed Nevada national forest. The burn occurred in 1973, and in 1976 all of the longflower snowberry shrubs had resprouted. No information on number of longflower snowberry plants or fire severity was provided.

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
No additional information is available on this topic.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Symphoricarpos longiflorus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Most authors report limited use of longflower snowberry by livestock and wildlife. McArthur and others [33] state snowberry is usually less preferred by game and livestock in winter than other shrubs. However, since it leafs out early in the spring, they report it is utilized by all browsing animals at that time.

Longflower snowberry is browsed by deer and livestock and the seeds are eaten by birds, especially the gallinaceous birds such as ring-necked pheasants, grouse and quail [57]. Sage-grouse in Nevada utilize longflower snowberry as both juveniles and adults [46]. The American pika and various ground squirrels also eat the seeds [57].

Kufeld and others [29] provide a literature review of plants utilized by Rocky Mountain mule deer. Longflower snowberry is used "lightly" in all seasons but winter, when it is not utilized. Limited summer use of longflower snowberry by pronghorns in Utah has been observed [50].

Palatability/nutritional value: Longflower snowberry is considered "largely unpalatable" to livestock in the desert regions of Nevada and Utah [54], and is rated as fair in both energy and protein content [12]. Plummer and others [41] give palatability of longflower snowberry an overall rating of fair, a winter rating of poor, summer rating of fair, and a spring rating of very good in a discussion of shrubs used in restoring Utah big game range.

Cover value: Cover value of longflower snowberry for big game is limited by its size (see General Botanical Characteristics). However, it provides fair cover for both upland game birds and small nongame birds and good cover for small mammals in Utah [12]. It is reasonable to assume that longflower snowberry provides this same cover value for birds and small mammals in other areas where it occurs.

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Longflower snowberry has limited range (see General Distribution) with relatively narrow environmental constraints (see Site Characteristics). Within these limits longflower snowberry is "vitally important" for rehabilitation of disturbed sites because no substitute with similar attributes has been found [36]. McArthur and others [33] describe longleaf snowberry as having the same adaptive attributes as mountain snowberry but in more xeric sites. These attributes include erosion control on roadcuts and fills as well as mine spoils, especially in pinyon-juniper sites in Utah and Nevada. Plummer and others [41] also describe longflower snowberry as having the same adaptive properties as mountain snowberry.

Vines [57] states longflower snowberry can be propagated by seeds and softwood or hardwood cuttings. McArthur and others [33] state all species of snowberry establish readily from seed, wildings, and nursery stock and that plants spread rapidly by layering.

OTHER USES:
There is little in the available literature concerning alternative uses of longflower snowberry. McArthur and others [33] state snowberries are well suited as an ornamental on roadsides and recreational areas.

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
The fruit of longflower snowberry contains saponin, but in such small quantities that poisoning rarely occurs [25].


Symphoricarpos longiflorus: References


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