Shepherdia argentea (Pursh) Nutt.
Silver Buffaloberry, Buffaloberry
Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)
Synonym(s): Elaeagnus utilis, Lepargyrea argentea
USDA Symbol: shar
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit: Red, Orange
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , KS , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , NY , OR , SD , UT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , MB , 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
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. 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
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed 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:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
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
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1991 VOL. 8, NO.3 - Native Plants Provide a Wealth of Foods and Fibers, Letter from the President, A...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Shepherdia argentea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Shepherdia argentea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Shepherdia argentea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-02-18
Research By: TWC Staff