A densely tangled shrub to 2 m. Shoots with short stiff hairs. Leaves oval with a tapered base and rounded tip, 3–6 × 2–3 mm, glabrous or lightly pubescent, dark brownish-green; petiole to 1 mm long. Flowers July–September (in Guatemala), single or paired, with pedicels to 0.5 mm and with 2 apical bracteoles 2–3 mm wide; calyx glabrous, 1–2 mm long, irregularly 5-toothed; corolla white or tinged pink, narrowly bell-shaped, 4–6 mm long with the tube 3–5 mm long and lobes 1–2 mm; stamens 5, barely exserted, anthers 1–1.5 mm long (c. half the length of the filaments); style glabrous, 3–4 mm; 5 nectaries at the base. Fruit 6–7(–10) mm wide, white or tinged pink. (Williams 1994; Crug Farm Nursery 2021).
Distribution Guatemala In the Cuchumatanes Highlands and Sierra Madre Mountains.
Habitat Limestone ridges, around 3000 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 9
RHS Hardiness Rating H3
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
Symphoricarpos guatemalensis was first described by J.K. Williams in 1994 (Williams 1994) from the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes in north-western Guatemala, differing from the more widespread S. microphyllus in its tiny leaves (the smallest of the genus), and its smaller flowers which have hairless throats. The species was re-found ten years later a little further south on the slopes of Santa Maria in the Sierra Madre Mountains, at over 2800 m, by Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones who collected seed (BSWJ 10316); plants are now commercially available from their Crûg Farm Nursery in north Wales (Crug Farm Nursery 2021). These plants have pinkish fruit, but are only likely to appeal to collectors in fairly mild climates.