General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Moderately alkaline (7.9 – 8.4)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 2 -45.6 °C (-50 °F) to -42.8 °C (-45°F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 6b
Plant Height: 6 to 12 feet, to about 20 feet
Plant Spread: 6 to 12 feet, to somewhat wider
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: leaves are simple, obovate, silvery gray on both top and bottom and about 1 to 2 inches long and about 3/8 inches wide.
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: orange-red (rarely yellow) drupe-like fruit is 0.16 to 0.24 inch (4-6 mm) dia. and one seeded; somewhat sour but edible; often used in jam.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Other: ripening occurs from Jul to Sep; if uneaten, fruit may dry and remain on the shrub until the following spring.
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Blooms on old wood
Other: male and female flowers are found on separate plants; in early spring (late April), yellow male flowers are quite noticeable; female flowers remain inconspicuous.
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Other: flowering generally occurs from late Apr to May but may occur as late as Jul at higher elevations.
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Erosion control
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Eating Methods: Raw
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Stratify seeds: soak 2 to 24 hours in warm water then cold/moist stratify for 30 to 90 days at 39 to 41 degF (4 to 5 degC) or fall sow without stratification.
Depth to plant seed: surface sow on moist soil, tamp and cover with sand or sow non-stratified seed 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep outdoors.
Suitable for wintersowing
Sow in situ
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Other info: approximately 43000 seeds per pound.
Propagation: Other methods: Offsets
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

Common names
  • Silver Buffaloberry
  • Buffaloberry
  • Silverberry
  • Buffalo Berry

Photo Gallery
Location: Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, near Kenmare, North Dakota
Date: 2016-06-27
Unripe round, green berries with light spots on twigs underneath
Location: Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, near Kenmare, North Dakota
Date: 2016-06-27
A lovely larger bush with narrow, rounded gray-green leaves
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: Soda Springs, Idaho, United States
Date: 2021-08-22
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: South Jordan, Utah, United States
Date: 2021-08-09
Location: Moraine Lake, Canada | August, 2022
Date: 2022-08-04
bear munchies
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by HighDesertNatives (northeastern NV - Zone 5a) on Aug 13, 2020 9:19 PM concerning plant:
    I am always excited to discover an ornamental North American native plant, in this case a shrub, Shepherdia argentea, which is cold hardy, drought tolerant, and prefers fine textured soils. Its native range extends from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta thru parts of Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Montana south to New Mexico and west to California at elevations to 7,500 feet. It's hardy to at least -50°F (-45.6°C). It's drought tolerant with minimum precipitation requirements of 12 – 14 inches per year and has moderate alkali (high pH) and salt-tolerance. Although it would not perform great in heavy clay, Silver Buffaloberry does actually prefer fine textured to coarser textured soils, as long as they are reasonably free-draining (like silt and clay loams).
    The female plants have attractive, edible, translucent orange-red drupe-like fruit in the summer and into fall. And the plant is a reliable nitrogen fixer. It is only moderately thorny, with a single thorn at the tip of some branches. S. argentea is dioecious, having male and female blossoms on separate plants, so typically you'd need two males and one female in your landscape for fruit set and fertile seed. Both male and female flowers are relatively inconspicuous but they are bee pollinated and provide an early source of bee food when they flower in late April.
    Its common name, Buffaloberry, comes from its seasonal use by Native Americans and early pioneers who mixed S. argentea fruit with dried Buffalo meat and tallow to make pemmican, a staple in their diets. Pemmican can generally last from one to five years without refrigeration, but there are anecdotal stories of pemmican stored in cellars being safely consumed after a decade or more. Today, Silver Buffaloberry fruit is used to make jam.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 24, 2020 11:07 AM concerning plant:
    I have heard of this species and I think I saw one at Morton Arboretum in northeast Illinois some decades ago. This Silver Buffaloberry is native to southern Manitoba & Alberta, plus central Saskatchewan, to most all of the Dakotas & Montana, then spots in the West to southeast Oregon to southern California, to northern Arizona & New Mexico to Nebraska to western Iowa and southern Minnesota. It is usually a thorny shrub about 6 to 12 feet high, to about 20 feet high and even tree-like. The 1 to 2 inch long leaves are opposite and silvery on both surfaces. No fall color but silvery gray-green. The male plants have the tiny yellowish staminate flowers in small clusters and the female plants have the tiny bell-shaped yellow flowers usually solitary, borne in April-May. The fruit is a cherry-like football-shaped red, orange, or yellow berry in July-August that is eaten by birds and small mammals and is a sour edible fruit for humans. It grows in dry to well-drained soils with a pH range of 6 to 8.5. It grows about 1.5 feet/year and is long-lived of over 100 years. It has deep coarse lateral roots that make it hard to transplant, and it is nitrogen-fixing. I'm sure it is offered at native plant nurseries out in the Plains States and the West.

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