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19th February 2021

A wintery cocktail sprang to mind as we discussed this species, so we thought why not rework a recipe we think would be worthy of the name… You could skip to that part below or give it a minute and learn a little more about the real thing.

Snowberry is in fact a pesky non-native shrub…

Like many invasive non-native species, a quick Google search of Snowberry will throw up various results centred around when and where to plant it, how to look after it in the common garden, and even where to buy it. Also like many other invasives, the Snowberry shrub was introduced to Europe in the early 19th century from North America, captured in botanist’s notebooks.

It’s a deciduous shrub that produces pink flowers in the summer, but it’s the somewhat elegant, white, almost pearl-like berries it produces in the autumn and persist through the winter that catch the eye.

So, its attractive – check.

Not native to the UK – check.

Can it outcompete native species? Does it rapidly and successfully spread? Check, and check.

Snowberry can form a dense thicket, suppressing the growth of other species and can grow prolifically, so much so that it is listed under category two of the London Invasive Species Initiative (LISI). This categorises it under species of high impact or concern present at specific sites that require attention (control, management, eradication etc). The Woodland Trust also notes that non-native species such as Snowberry, Himalayan balsam and Rhododendron are encroaching into our woodlands and competing with our native plants.

The Snowberry shrub can provide a food source for game birds in the winter, but despite wildlife enjoying a belly-full, its berries are in fact poisonous to humans. It can cause dizziness and vomiting, and even slight sedation in children. We know home-schooling is tough, but please don’t try this at home!

Ebsford are seeing more and more sites overrun with the shrub and we’re assisting with clearance and eradication as we do best. Treatments vary from mechanical and herbicidal eradication, so if you do happen to come across it as a nuisance on your site, we’d be happy to conduct a survey and outline your best options.

So now that you know a little more about Snowberry and that you can’t actually eat it, here is a cocktail recipe simply inspired by a pretty name, a bit of cold weather and longing for a fancy drink!

1 part coconut cream

1 part Blue Curacao

1 part white rum

Lashings of ice

Whizz everything in a blender!

Dip the rim of your glass into a small amount of honey, then dip into desiccated coconut for a truly snowy finish.

(Edible glitter would be fab in the festive season!)

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