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Shepherdia argentea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Genus: Shepherdia

See text

  • Lepargyrea Raf.
  • Leptargyreia Schltdl.

Shepherdia, commonly called buffaloberry[1] or bullberry, is a genus of small shrubs in the Elaeagnaceae family. The plants are native to northern and western North America.[2] They are non-legume nitrogen fixers.

Shepherdia is dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate plants.[3]


The genus has three species:

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
SilverBuffaloberry-SK..jpg Shepherdia argentea silver buffaloberry[4] central and western North America, from the Prairie Provinces of Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) southwards in the United States as far as Ventura County in California, as well as northern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico.
Shepherdia canadensis 05.JPG Shepherdia canadensis Canada buffaloberry all of Canada, except in Prince Edward Island, and in the western and northern United States, including Alaska and Idaho
2017.04.15 17.02.13 IMG 8412 - Flickr - andrey zharkikh.jpg Shepherdia rotundifolia roundleaf buffaloberry endemic to southern Utah and northern Arizona


The berry is recognizable by being a dark shade of red, with little white dots on them. They are rough to the touch, and are found on both trees and shrubs.


The plants have rather bitter-tasting berries. The fruit are often eaten by bears, which by legend, prefer the berries to maintain fat stores during hibernation.[5]

Buffaloberries are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Ectropis crepuscularia (recorded from S. canadensis) and Coleophora elaeagnisella.

As food[edit]

Buffaloberries are sour and can be made into jam, pie, jelly, syrup, soups, or prepared like cranberry sauce with sugar added.[5]


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Shepherdia". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Shepherdia Nutt". USDA PLANTS.
  3. ^ Renner, Susanne S. (2014). "The relative and absolute frequencies of angiosperm sexual systems: dioecy, monoecy, gynodioecy, and an updated online database". American Journal of Botany. 101 (10): 1588–1596. doi:10.3732/ajb.1400196. PMID 25326608.
  4. ^ "Silver buffaloberry" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b Elias, Professor, Thomas S. (1983). Edible Wild Plants A North American Field Guide (Digitized online by Google books). Peter A. Dykeman. Cengage Learning. pp. 9–28, 258. ISBN 0-442-22254-8. Retrieved 2009-01-25.

External links[edit]