A low spreading shrub, with branches to 1 m long, rooting at their tips. Shoots glaucous, sometimes sparsely hairy; older bark grey or reddish, flaking. Leaves ovate and often lobed, 10–20 × 5–13 mm, tapered at the base and more or less acute at the tip, thickish in texture, grey-green above with sparse almost straight hairs, paler beneath and usually pubescent; petiole 1–3 mm, pubescent. Flower June–July, mostly in axillary pairs and with few-flowered terminal racemes to 1 cm long; bracts and bractlets oval, acute, glaucous, pubescent; calyx glaucous, bell-shaped, lobes 1 mm long, corolla pink or whitish, narrowly bell-shaped, 6–7 (–8) mm long, with 5 distinct nectaries at the base; tube pilose within, with 5 slightly irregular lobes 2–3 mm long, slightly more than a third the length of the corolla. Anthers 1.5–2 mm, equal or less than the free portion of the filament; style glabrous, 3 mm, nearly half the length of the corolla; fruit white, 6–8 mm wide; nutlets oval, flattened, 3.5–4.5 × 2–2.5 mm. (Jones 1940).
Distribution Mexico Baja California. United States Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah
Habitat Chaparral and dry hills, from 1600 to 3000 m asl, forming sprawling mats on exposed slopes.
USDA Hardiness Zone 4
RHS Hardiness Rating H7
Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)
Symphoricarpos parishii was considered a good species by G. Neville Jones in his 1940 monograph (Jones 1940), and is recognised by Plants of the World Online (Plants of the World Online 2021), which for this group of taxa generally follows the nomenclature used by K.W. Alfred in Flora Neomexicana in 2012 (Allred 2012). However, some American authorities, such as Charles Bell (Bell 2009) treat it as a synonym for the widespread and very variable S. rotundifolius; phylogenetic analysis has yet to cast much light on this issue. Under any name, this rather specialised montane species seems unlikely to be in cultivation. It was named by Per Axel Rydberg after Samual Bonsall Parish, curator of the herbarium at Stanford University.