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Shepherdia argentea (Pursh) Nutt.
Silver buffaloberry, Buffaloberry
Synonym(s): Elaeagnus utilis, Lepargyrea argentea
USDA Symbol: shar
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Silver buffalo-berry is a mound-shaped shrub, 6-20 ft. tall, which sometimes becomes nearly tree-like. The deciduous plant may be single-trunked or have a few short-trunked stems. Twigs are spiny and silvery gray. Foliage is also silvery-gray. Inconspicuous flowers precede a football-shaped berry that is red, orange or yellow. Shrub or small tree with silvery, scaly leaves, young twigs, berries; branches opposite; twigs often spine-tipped.
The berries are edible, but sour, best after frost in November.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Red, Orange Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Extreme w. MN
& Man. to B.C., s. to KS
& MT; also mts. to n. NM
& e. CA Native Habitat:
Prairies; banks; ravines
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Rocky, sandy or clayey soils. Conditions Comments:
Silver buffaloberry tolerates the poorest of soils and does well in dry or alkaline situations. It is a low maintenance plant and extremely cold- and drought-tolerant. For fruit
set, both male and female plants are required.
BenefitWarning: Plant has thorns or prickles.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Plant is best propagated by cuttings. Treated seeds will also work.
Seed Collection: Fruits may be collected by stripping or flailing from the branches. Heavy gloves are necessary to provide protection from the thorns. Seeds can be separated with a macerator and water.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 60-90 days at 41 degrees. Acid scarification for 20-30 min. proves beneficial.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-18
Research By: TWC Staff