Interesting facts and benefits of Coralberry – Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

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Coralberry Quick Facts
Name: Coralberry
Scientific Name: Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Origin Eastern and central United States as well as central Canada (Ontario) and northeastern Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León)
Colors Pink to coral red to reddish-purple in color
Shapes Ovoid to globose berry-like drupe about 1/4 inch long
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Good for weak, inflamed or sore eyes, tonsillitis, toothaches, arthralgia, respiratory infections, menstrual disorders, fever and earaches.
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, commonly called coralberry, is a woody species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae). The plant is native to eastern and central United States as well as central Canada (Ontario) and northeastern Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León). It typically occurs in open woods, fields, pastures and thickets throughout the State. Coralberry, Indian Current, Snowberry, Waxberry, snapberry, buckleberry, wolfberry, turkey bush, Indian currant Buck brush and Round snowberry are some of the well-known common names of the plant. Genus name Symphoricarpos comes from the Greek word symphorein meaning bear together and karpos meaning fruit in reference to the fruits appearing in clusters. The specific epithet orbiculatus means round and flat, disk-shaped which the fruit are.

Coralberry Facts

Name Coralberry
Scientific Name Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Native Eastern and central United States as well as central Canada (Ontario) and northeastern Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León)
Common Names Coralberry, Indian Current, Snowberry, Waxberry, snapberry, buckleberry, wolfberry, turkey bush, Indiancurrant Buck brush, Round snowberry
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Coralberry
Albanian: Coralberry
Amharic: Koralibēr (ኮራልቤሪ)
Arabic: Kuralbiri (كورالبيري), huba althalj almudur  (حب الثلج المدور)
Armenian: Marjan (մարջան), Dzyunaptghik sovorakan (Ձյունապտղիկ սովորական)
Azerbaijani: mərcan, Adi qargiləmeyvə
Bengali: Coralberry-ˈkär-,ˈkôrəlˌberē
Bulgarian: Coralberry-ˈkär-,ˈkôrəlˌberē
Burmese: Kyawwathcaim (ကျောက်စိမ်း)
Chinese: Shānhú méi (珊瑚莓), Yun chi zi jin niu, Chu sar gun
Croatian: Coralberry, koraljni biserak
Czech: Coralberry, Pámelník, pámelník červenoplodý
Danish: Coralberry
Dutch: Koraalbes, Koraalbes
English: Coralberry, Indian-currant, Indiancurrant coralberry, Buck brush, Round snowberry
Esperanto: Koralberry
Estonian: Korallikas
Filipino: Coralberry
Finnish: Coralberry
French: Coralberry, Symphorine à baies-de-corail, Symphorine orbiculaire, Groseillier des Indien, Symphorine à baies de corail, Symphorine à feuilles rondes, arbousier d’Amérique, groseillier des Indes,
Georgian: Coralberry-ˈkär-,ˈkôrəlˌberē
German: Korallenbeere, Korallenbeerstrauch, Korallenschneebeere
Greek: Korálli (κοράλλι)
Gujarati: Kōrabērī (કોરબેરી)
Hausa: Murjani
Hebrew: אלמוג
Hindi: Coralberry-ˈkär-,ˈkôrəlˌberē
Hungarian: Coralberry, Piros bogyóslonc
Icelandic: Kóralbe
Indonesian: Coralberry
Irish: Coiréil
Italian: Coralberry
Japanese: Kōraruberī (コーラルベリ)
Javanese: Kembang ijo
Kannada: Kōralberi (ಕೋರಲ್ಬೆರಿ)
Kazakh: Marjan (маржан)
Korean: Koleol beli (코럴 베리)
Kurdish: Coralberry
Lao: Pa la bon (ປາລາບອນ)
Latin: Coralberry
Latvian: Koraļģes
Lithuanian: Spanguolių
Macedonian: Jagoda (јагода)
Malagasy: Coralberry
Malay: Coralberi
Malayalam: Kēāṟalbeṟi (കോറൽബെറി)
Maltese: Coralberry
Marathi: Koralaberee (कोरलबेरी)
Mongolian: Shüren (шүрэн)
Navajo: Tsétsohkʼįįʼ
Nepali:  Koralaberee (कोरलबेरी)
Norwegian: Coralberry
Oriya: କରାଲବେରୀ
Pashto: مرجان
Persian: مرجانی توت هندی, مروارید قرمز
Polish: Koralowiec, Śnieguliczka koralowa
Portuguese: Coralberry
Punjabi: Kōralabērī (ਕੋਰਲਬੇਰੀ)
Romanian: Coralberry
Russian: Coralberry (kôrəlˌberē), Snezhnoyagodnik okruglyy  (Снежноягодник округлый), snezhnoyagodnik kruglolistnyy (снежноягодник круглолистный), snezhnoyagodnik obyknovennyy  (снежноягодник обыкновенный)
Serbian: Coralberri (цоралберри)
Sindhi: مرلي
Sinhala: Koralberi (කොරල්බෙරි)
Slovak: Pámelník červenoplodý
Slovenian: Koralnica
Spanish: Coralberry, baya de coral
Sudanese: Kembang garing        
Swedish: Coralberry, Petersbuske
Tajik: Macron (марҷон)
Tamil: Pavaḷappāṟai (பவளப்பாறை)
Telugu: Coralberry-ˈkôrəlˌberē
Thai: Coralberry-ˈkôrəlˌberē
Turkish: Coralberry
Ukrainian: Brusnitsya (брусниця)
Urdu: مرجانبیری
Uzbek: Zangori 
Vietnamese: Dâu tây
Welsh: Coralberry, llusen gwrel
Zulu: Ikhorali
Plant Growth Habit Erect, slender, low-growing, spreading, evergreen, glabrous, thicket-forming shrub
Growing Climates Thin rocky woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, powerline clearances in wooded areas, thickets, and limestone glades, freshwater wetland, treed swampy wetland, lowland forest, foothills forest, forby forest, damp forest, granitic hillslopes, rocky outcrop shrub land, western plains woodland,  semi-arid woodland, alluvial plains woodland, freshwater wetland, shaded woods, stream banks, river banks, post oak woodlands, bottomland forests, bases, ledges, and tops of bluffs and pastures, old fields, fencerows, railroads, and roadsides
Soil Prefers sandy, loamy and clay soils; can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Normally it prefers acid, neutral and alkaline soils
Plant Size 6 ft. (180 cm) tall and 4-8 feet wide, but is typically 3–4 ft. (90–120 cm) tall
Root Root system consists of a woody branching taproot
Bark Light brown to purplish bark on young stems and brownish-gray and shreddy on old stems
Twigs Slender and at first scruffy brownish green, later darkening to a reddish brown with very fine peeling strips; scales present where new branches emerge; single bundle scars
Leaf Leaves are alternate, simple, dark green, leathery, elliptic lanceolate or oblanceolate with crenate or undulate margins
Flowering season July to September
Flower Flowers have a bell shaped corolla with five lobes, which may be whitish, yellowish or tinged in purple; the lobes do not spread widely when the flower is open
Fruit Shape & Size Ovoid to globose berry-like drupe about 1/4 inch long
Fruit Color Pink to coral red to reddish-purple in color
Seed Hard, egg-shaped, flattened on one side, white, smooth
Propagation By seed or by softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings in spring
Taste Bitter
Season September–October

Plant Description

Coralberry is an erect, slender, low-growing, spreading, evergreen, glabrous, thicket-forming shrub that normally grows about 6 ft. (180 cm) tall and 4-8 feet wide, but is typically 3–4 ft. (90–120 cm) tall.  The plant is found growing in thin rocky woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, power line clearances in wooded areas, thickets, and limestone glades, freshwater wetland, treed swampy wetland, lowland forest, foothills forest, forby forest, damp forest, granitic hill slopes, rocky outcrop shrub land, western plains woodland,  semi-arid woodland, alluvial plains woodland, freshwater wetland and shaded woods.

The plant performs well in sandy, loamy and clay soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Normally it prefers acid, neutral and alkaline soils. The root system consists of a woody branching taproot. Twigs of slender and at first scruffy brownish green, later darkening to a reddish brown with very fine peeling strips; scales present where new branches emerge and single bundle scars. The branches are erect to ascending and arching, slender with light brown to purplish bark on young stems and brownish-gray and shreddy on old stems. Young twigs have soft hair.

Leaves

The leaves are oval or ovate shaped, and arranged oppositely along the branches. The blades of the opposite leaves are up to 2 inches long and 1¼ inches across. They are oval-ovate and the margins are without lobes or teeth but the margin may be wavy. Both tip and base are of obtuse shape. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green and hairless to slightly pubescent, while the lower surface is whitish green and usually has fine hair, particularly on the veins and the leaf edge. Each leaf has a short petiole up to ¼ inches long. Leaf venation is pinnate.

Flower

The inflorescence is tight cluster of very small flowers in the axils of some of the leaf pairs – generally toward the tips of the stems. The flowers have a bell shaped corolla with five lobes, which may be whitish, yellowish or tinged in purple; the lobes do not spread widely when the flower is open. The calyx is green with five pointed teeth which persist onto the drupes. The reproductive parts include 5 stamens which surround a bearded (hairy) style. Each flower is about 1/4 inch long.

Fruit

Each fertile flower is replaced by an ovoid to globose berry-like drupe that is pink to coral red (from which comes the common name) to reddish-purple in color, and about 1/4 inch long. The drupes are usually so densely packed that the shape is often flattened. The top end of the drupe has a short beak. The texture of their flesh is fleshy but not juicy. Fruit sometimes persists through the winter. Each drupe contains a single stony seed. Seeds are hard, egg-shaped, flattened on one side, white and smooth. Rarely, you might find a plant that bears white fruits.

Traditional uses and benefits of Coralberry

  • A decoction of the inner bark or leaves has been used as a wash in the treatment of weak, inflamed or sore eyes.
  • A cold decoction of the root bark has been used as an eye wash to treat sore eyes.
  • Root is considered anodyne, depurative, and febrifuge and is used to stimulate blood circulation.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, roots used for treatment of tonsillitis, toothaches, arthralgia, respiratory infections, and menstrual disorders.
  • In Kampung Bawong, Perak, West Malaysia, juice from crushed whole plant used to treat fever and earaches.

Few Interesting Facts

  • Plants can be grown as a hedge or informal screen.
  • Plants have an extensive root system and also sucker freely; they can be used for soil stabilization.
  • The flowers provide nectar for bees, wasps, and flies.
  • Foliage supports a number of moth caterpillars. The berries provide winter food for birds, including the Bobwhite and Robin.
  • Coralberry can be a problem plant in pastures, hay fields, and roadsides.
  • Native Americans apparently crushed this plant, pushed it into stream water, and used it to stun fish that could then be collected downstream from the water’s surface.

Precautions

  • Fruits are toxic to people, causing nausea and vomiting if eaten in large enough quantities.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using the herb.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=35337#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=36010

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Symphoricarpos+orbiculatus

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=f730

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphoricarpos_orbiculatus

http://gringlobal.iita.org/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=36010

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/SYPOR

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SYOR

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=syor

http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/weeds_coralberry

http://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Symphoricarpos+orbiculatus

http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/DENDROLOGY/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=466

https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/coralberry.htm

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/56481/#b

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