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Shepherdia canadensis - (L.)Nutt.

Common Name Buffalo Berry, Russet buffaloberry, Canada Buffaloberry
Family Elaeagnaceae
USDA hardiness 2-6
Known Hazards The fruit contains low concentrations of saponins[101]. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Calcareous rocks, banks and sandy shores[43], usually in partial shade[85].
Range N. America - Newfoundland to Alaska, south to British Columbia, New York and New Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Shepherdia canadensis Buffalo Berry, Russet buffaloberry, Canada Buffaloberry


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
Shepherdia canadensis Buffalo Berry, Russet buffaloberry, Canada Buffaloberry
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund

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Summary

Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Shepherdia canadensis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Hippophae canadensis. Elaeagnus canadensis. Lepargyrea canadensis

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 3, 22, 46, 85, 101]. The fruit can also be dried and used like currants. A tart but pleasant flavour even before a frost, it becomes sweeter after frosts[62]. Another report says that the fruit is bitter and is dried, smoked or pressed into cakes[183]. The fruit was a favourite treat of the North American Indians, they would beat it in an equal quantity of water until a foam with a consistency of beaten eggs was formed. It was important that the berries were not allowed to come into contact with anything greasy since this would prevent it becoming foamy[256]. The foam would then be flavoured with a sweet food such as cooked quamash bulbs or other fruits and then served as a special treat in feasts etc. The taste is bitter sweet and is not always enjoyed the first time it is eaten, though it normally grows on one. Nowadays sugar is used to sweeten it and the confection is called 'Indian ice cream'[183, 256]. The fruit should be used in moderation due to the saponin content[101]. The fruit is about 5mm in diameter[200].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Birthing aid;  Cathartic;  Haemostatic;  Hypotensive;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Poultice;  Skin;  
Stomachic;  TB;  VD.

Buffalo berry was commonly employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who used it in the treatment of a range of complaints[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. A poultice of the bark, softened by hot water and mixed with pin cherry bark (Prunus pensylvanica), has been used to make a plaster or bandage for wrapping broken limbs[257]. An infusion of the bark has been used as a wash for sore eyes[257]. The roots are antihaemorrhagic and cathartic[257]. An infusion of the roots has been used as an aid to childbirth and in the treatment of tuberculosis and the coughing up of blood[257]. A decoction of the stems has been used as a stomach tonic (it was also used to treat stomach cancer) and also in the treatment of constipation, high blood pressure and venereal disease[257]. A decoction of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash in the treatment of sores, cuts and swellings[257]. A decoction of the plant has been used externally as a wash and rub for aching limbs, arthritic joints, head and face sores[257]. The inner bark is laxative[257]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of constipation[257]. The berries have been eaten as a treatment for high blood pressure[257]. The fruit juice has been drunk in the treatment of digestive disorders[257]. It has also been applied externally in the treatment of acne and boils[257].

Other Uses

Hair;  Repellent;  Soap.

Because of its saponin content, the fruit is a potential soap substitute. It is macerated in water to extract the saponins[172]. A decoction of the branches has been used as a hair tonic for dyeing and curling the hair[257]. The branches were harvested in mid summer, broken up and boiled for 2 - 3 hours in water, until the liquid looked like brown coffee. The liquid was decanted off and bottled without further treatment - it would store for a long time without deterioration. To use, the decoction was rubbed into the hair which was simultaneously curled and dyed a brownish colour[257]. The berries, the froth made from them, or a jelly of the fruit, have been eaten as an insect repellent[257]. It was said that mosquitoes were far less likely to bite a person who had eaten the fruit[257].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Hedge, Massing, Superior hedge. Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained moisture retentive soil[1, 3, 11]. Tolerates poor dry soils[200] and maritime exposure[182]. Established plants are drought resistant[182]. Plants can accumulate mercury when they are grown in polluted soils[172]. Rarely produces fruits in Britain[182]. Some named varieties have been developed for their ornamental value[200]. 'Xanthocarpa' has yellow fruits, 'Rubra' has red fruits[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed is required. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation

Seed - it must not be allowed to dry out[113]. It is best harvested in the autumn and sown immediately in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made it will be possible to plant them out in the summer, otherwise grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in the following spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame sometimes work[113].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Soopolallie,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Alaska, Arctic, Australia, Canada, North America, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Shepherdia argenteaBuffalo Berry, Silver Buffaloberry,31

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Nutt.

Botanical References

11200235

Links / References

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Subject : Shepherdia canadensis  
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