Buffaloberry Shepherdia canadensis
Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster)
Other names: Soopolallie, Soapberry, Canada Buffaloberry, Russet Buffaloberry
This shrub is uncommon in Ontario, though it is in other parts of the
continent. At a first glance from a distance, it resembles a
Viburnum (like Nannyberry or Wild-raisin)
since it has long, naked and opposite buds. But as soon as you
look closer you notice the distinctive twigs and buds that are covered
in brown and silver "scales", almost like a snake's skin. These
look just like those of Autumn-olive,
though that species has alternate branching while Buffaloberry is
opposite. The flowers are small and occur in the leaf axils.
In the winter these are visible as small spherical buds.
There are other species in the Shepherdia genus that typically
grow farther south; mainly Silver Buffaloberry (Sheperdia argentea) which is taller, more silver, and very spiny.
Winter twig of Buffaloberry. Notice the similarity to Nannyberry or Wild-raisin.
Close view of the lateral buds
Another view of the winter twig
Lateral buds are often stalked
The small spherical flower buds
A dead leaf still attached to the shrub
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© 2008 Josh Sayers
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