AskIFAS Powered by EDIS

Chiococca alba Snowberry

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Chiococca alba is a handsome, low scrambling shrub that can reach a height of 10 feet if given a support to climb upon (Figure 1). The leathery leaves of the snowberry are evergreen, shiny, and dark green in color. White to yellowish, tubular flowers are found in the leaf axil and occur in 3-inch-long racemes or panicles. Each raceme or panicle is tipped with 6 to 8 of the flowers, and these flowers turn from white to yellow with time. The common name used for this shrub refers to the large, ovoid, sparkling white fruits that follow the delightful flowers. This plant may be used as a mounding specimen and is a splendid trellis or espalier subject.

Full Form - Chiococca alba: Snowberry
Figure 1. Full Form - Chiococca alba: Snowberry
Credit: Edward F. Gilman


Leaf - Chiococca alba: Snowberry
Figure 2. Leaf - Chiococca alba: Snowberry
Credit: Edward F. Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Chiococca alba
Pronunciation: kye-oh-KOE-kuh AL-buh
Common name(s): snowberry, milkberry, West Indian milkberry
Family: Rubiaceae
Plant type: vine
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Figure 3)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Uses: espalier; mass planting; foundation

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Credit: undefined


Height: depends upon supporting structure
Spread: 6 to 10 feet
Plant habit: spreading; round
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: yellow

Flower characteristic: flowers periodically throughout the year


Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: fleshy
Fruit color: white

Fruit characteristic: attracts birds

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems; not particularly showy
Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

The snowberry is a shrub that needs a sunny location and well-drained soil. It will grow well on sandy loam soils and can tolerate dry conditions. This plant can be found in or near coastal areas throughout Florida and will usually survive without care.

Pests and Diseases

Chewing insects may occasionally be a problem for Chiococca alba, but none are lethal.

Publication #FPS124

Release Date:May 2, 2023

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS124, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised April 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor; Ryan W. Klein; and Gail Hansen, associate professor; Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman