Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.
Russet Buffaloberry, Rabbitberry
Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)
Synonym(s): Elaeagnus canadensis, Lepargyrea canadensis
USDA Symbol: SHCA
A small, loosely branched shrub of rounded outline, usually 4-8 ft. high and equally as wide, with thick, leathery, gray-green to russet-green foliage. Small, inconspicuous, yellow flowers are followed by yellowish-red, oval-shaped fruits. The orange-dotted white bark give the branches a rusty appearance. Branches opposite; young twigs brownish, scaly.
Deer and Elk consume the foliage of this shrub, while Grizzly and Black Bears consume the berries.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Red or yellow.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , IL , IN , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NM , NV , NY , OH , OR , PA , SD , UT , VT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Nf. to AK, s. to ME, PA, Great Lakes, s. Man., CO Rockies, ID & OR; occurs locally in n. Great Plains
Native Habitat: Moist slopes; wooded, rocky hillsides; conifer openings
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Adaptable, but prefers moist, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates the poorest of soils; does well in dry or alkaline situations. Low maintenance. Extremely cold- and drought-tolerant. For fruit set both male and female plants are required.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
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. 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
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Shepherdia canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Shepherdia canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Shepherdia canadensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff