About 17 species of low, deciduous shrubs, usually freely branching and suckering. Leaves opposite, simple, usually entire, sometimes with teeth or lobed, short petioles. Flowers small and inconspicuous, perfect, pink or white, 4-5 lobed. Fruit a white, red, or black berry with 2 seeds. Native to North and Central America and China.
Symphoricarpos: from the Greek symphorein, bear together, and karpos, fruit. Apparently a reference to the close grouping of the berries that they appear to be a compound fruit.