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This is evergreen, and doesn’t flower and however hard I try I can’t identify it, except it’s not a lonicera or Symphoricarpos. It’s a fast grower with Arching stems, with opposite leaves. a@

  • Why do you think its not a variety of Symphoricarpos? Are you 100% sure its not deciduous? What part of the world are you in? – Bamboo May 17 at 21:54
  • Yes sorry it’s my first question here so I’ve been too vague. It’s in the Cotswolds, UK, asking for a friend, she assures me it’s evergreen and doesn’t flower. I work in a garden centre and have asked all the plant experts there we all thought Symphoricarpos first but it doesn’t fit the description of evergreen? Would just ,like some other suggestions to research for her! Many thanks! – Jane Earthy May 18 at 8:36
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Regardless of whether the owner of this shrub believes it is evergreen, I am 99.9% sure you are right and it is Symphoricarpos; it is possible, if it is in a sheltered spot, and given the very mild winter we had this year, that it did not completely shed its leaves, although unlikely. As for it's not flowering, that is not unusual either, especially if the owner has been cutting it back. Two of the gardens I used to care for had this growing - it had suckered under the fence of one garden and was then also growing in the other garden. I spent about three years trying to get rid of it, and finally succeeded; in that time, it never flowered noticeably at all, just kept spreading,though I did notice a couple of small white berries on it occasionally, which would indicate it did flower, but certainly not in any obvious way.

This puts you in a rather difficult position (I've been there myself) because the owner firmly believes this plant is evergreen, but it is Symphoricarpos, which is deciduous. In my experience, it's not unusual for a client to believe something is evergreen when it isn't, so a degree of tact is sometimes necessary when giving the ID - I used to say something like, well I think it's .... whatever... but let's wait till early January and see if it still has leaves because sometimes not all the leaves fall, or some such explanation. Every time, it turned out the plant was not evergreen at all... ID for someone you know can be difficult; I once had a client who kept talking about her 'white lilac' getting too big; I could see no lilac anywhere so I asked her to point it out; the shrub was actually Cornus alba in full flower, and I had great difficulty in convincing her it was not a lilac...in fact, I'm not sure she ever really believed me, she was elderly and died 18 months later, probably still believing she had a white lilac in her garden.

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  • Thank you very much, we all thought Symphoricarpos but she is adamant it’s evergreen with no flowers. But she is hacking it back all the time trying to control it so you could well be right from your experience. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Kind regards. – Jane Earthy May 18 at 13:52
  • If its a friend, visit her in January, or ask her to take a photo of it in January if you want to be tactful! – Bamboo May 18 at 14:07

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