Fruit of coralberry.

Coralberry is a low-growing, spreading shrub with arching stems that produce clusters of purplish red fruits in the fall. It is a good food source for several species of bird.  This shrub is native to Eastern U.S. and a good plant for naturalizing in open woodlands or used to stabilize steep slopes because of its suckering habit.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

All Common Names:

Coralberry, Indiancurrant Coralberry, Buckbrush

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early winter,
  • Early summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous,
  • Pink

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size & form

A spreading, arching shrub reaching 3 to 5 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Grows in sun or shade.
Best in well drained soil, but tolerant of temporary wet sites.
Thrives on neglect.
Prune to manage suckers to limit the width of the shrub.
Prune in spring to initiate more flowers.
Moderate tolerance to aerial salt spray.

Disease, pests, and problems

Powdery mildew, anthracnose, aphids and scale are possible problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Common in low areas and along the edges of woodlands from eastern U. S. to TX and SD to CO

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Many birds, including chickadees, robins and cardinals eat the fruit

Bark color and texture 

Bark gray to brown, peeling into flakes or strips

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, simple leaves arranged in pairs on the twigs. 
Small, oval to nearly round leaves; dull green to blue-green changing to yellow-green in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, inconspicuous, bell-shaped flowers in terminal clusters in late June through July

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, spongy, purplish-red berry-like fruit from early fall into January

Related cultivars and hybrids and their differences

Hancock™ Chenault's Coralberry (Symphoricarpos x chenaultii 'Hancock'): A low-growing, spreading shrub maturing at 24 inches high and 8 feet wide. Pink bell-shaped flowers and rosy pink berries.

Amethyst™ Kordes Doorenbos Snowberry (Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Kordes'): A hybrid of S. alba var. laevitigatus x S. chenaultii. Grows 3 to 5 feet high with greenish-white flowers and globe-shaped; deep purplish-pink berries.


Location of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) at the Arboretum