One of coralberry’s common names is Indian Currant so of course I had to taste it when I spotted a thicket today.
phlifft … I didn’t have to do an internet search to confirm the presence of saponin. Just tasting one of the tiny drupes left my mouth a bit soapy and bitter. For the record, coralberry is mildly toxic to mammals so you probably shouldn’t follow my lead.
The leaves are a delicacy for deer. But coralberry is also a host plant for one of my favourite moths: the snowberry clearwing. They look a little bit like giant bees.
Coralberry makes a nice looking thicket and because the berries are less than delicious they tend to persist over the winter. Shade tolerant, drought tolerant. They get to be about one metre high. I am thinking I might plant some as a screen for my compost bin …