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Shepherdia argentea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
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 living species:

An additional extinct species is also placed in the genus:


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.[6]

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.[6]


  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. ^ LaMotte, R.S. (1952). Catalogue of the Cenozoic plants of North America through 1950. Geological Society of America Memoirs. Vol. 51. Geological Society of America. doi:10.1130/MEM51.
  6. ^ 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]