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Chiococca pinetorum Pineland Snowberry1

Edward F. Gilman 2

Introduction

Chiococca pinetorum is a handsome, low scrambling shrub that can reach a height of 10 feet if given a support to climb upon (Fig. 1). It climbs into neighboring trees and shrubs in the wild. The leathery leaves of the snowberry are evergreen, shiny, and dark green in color. They are smaller than C. alba. White or purple-white, 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.

Figure 1. Pineland snowberry.
Figure 1.  Pineland snowberry.

General Information

Scientific name: Chiococca pinetorum
Pronunciation: kye-oh-KOE-kuh pye-net-TOR-um
Common name(s): pineland snowberry
Family: Rubiaceae
Plant type: ground cover
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: espalier; mass planting; foundation; ground cover
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.

Description

Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Plant habit: spreading; round
Plant density: open
Growth rate: slow
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: white; white-purple
Flower characteristic: flowers periodically throughout the year

Fruit

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

Culture

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

Other

Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

This plant may be used as a tall ground cover in a partially shaded or sunny location. Plants blend together making a loose mass of foliage several years after planting on 4- to 5-foot centers.

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

Pest and Diseases

Chewing insects may occasionally be a problem for Chiococca pinetorum.

Footnotes

1. This document is FPS125, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS125

Date: 5/25/2015

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      Contacts

      • Gail Hansen de Chapman