Shepherdia canadensis

Scientific name: Shepherdia canadensis

Synonym: Elaeagnus canadensis, Hippophae canadensis, Lepargyrea canadensis


Common names: “Soap berry” “buffalo berry”

Plant Type: Deciduous shrub


Zone: 2-6

Light: Full sun – part shade

Exposure: Exposed or sheltered, less common in humid coastal regions

Soil: Average – poor, tolerates alkalinity

Moisture: Moist – dry well drained, handles some drought


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Plant Size: 4-6′ H & W

Leaf and Stem shape: opposite branches and leaves, with silver hairs and rust-colored dots covering the underside

Flower: Inconspicuous yellowish flowers below joints of unopened leaves followed by translucent, red or orange, oval fruits with one stony seed

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Pruning: Minimal

Maintenance: Low

Landscape use: Hedges, shrub border, windbreaks, erosion control

Propagate: By cuttings, seed and layering

Pests & Disease: Deer, powdery mildew and rust maybe

Comments: North American native, used by first nations, not recommended for eating as the berries contain saponins which can be toxic in large doses but they have a sweet-bitter taste, nitrogen fixer, berries can be used as a soap alternative

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