Shepherdia argentea Elaeagnaceae
Silver Buffaloberry, Thorny Buffaloberry
- Broadleaf deciduous large shrub or small tree, to 3-20 ft (0.9-3 m) tall, thicket-forming, thorny branches spreading to ascending. Leaves opposite, simple, oblong-lanceolate to oblong-elliptical, 2-5 cm long 7-10 mm wide, thick, apex round, base acute or wedge-shaped, margin entire, white-gray resulting from a fine pubescence on both leaf surfaces. Dioecious (male and female plants), flowers small, yellowish-brown, male in axillary spikes, female single. Fruit ovoid berry, reddish, about 6 mm wide, one seeded, edible, but sour, reportedly becomes sweeter after a frost; makes a fine jelly.
- Sun to part shade. Grows well on dry, moist well-drained, tolerant of alkaline soil. Does well on poor soil because it can fix nitrogen.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 2 Native range from Manitoba west to British Columbia and south to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, most common in the northern Great Planes. Small populations are found in western Minnesota and northwestern Iowa.
- argentea: Latin for silvery; recall that the chemical symbol for the element silver is Ag (argentum).