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Uses

Toxic parts

The fruit contains low concentrations of saponins[1]. 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].

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[2][3][4][5][6][1]. The fruit can also be dried and used like currants. A tart but pleasant flavour even before a frost, it becomes sweeter after frosts[7]. Another report says that the fruit is bitter and is dried, smoked or pressed into cakes[8]. 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[9]. 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'[8][9]. The fruit should be used in moderation due to the saponin content[1]. The fruit is about 5mm in diameter[10].

Fruit

Material uses

Because of its saponin content, the fruit is a potential soap substitute. It is macerated in water to extract the saponins[11].

A decoction of the branches has been used as a hair tonic for dyeing and curling the hair[12]. 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[12].

The berries, the froth made from them, or a jelly of the fruit, have been eaten as an insect repellent[12]. It was said that mosquitoes were far less likely to bite a person who had eaten the fruit[12].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Buffalo berry was commonly employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who used it in the treatment of a range of complaints[12]. 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[12]. An infusion of the bark has been used as a wash for sore eyes[12]. The roots are antihaemorrhagic and cathartic[12]. 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[12]. 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[12]. A decoction of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash in the treatment of sores, cuts and swellings[12]. A decoction of the plant has been used externally as a wash and rub for aching limbs, arthritic joints, head and face sores[12]. The inner bark is laxative[12]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of constipation[12].

The berries have been eaten as a treatment for high blood pressure[12]. The fruit juice has been drunk in the treatment of digestive disorders[12]. It has also been applied externally in the treatment of acne and boils[12].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nitrogen fixer

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - it must not be allowed to dry out[13]. It is best harvested in the autumn and sown immediately in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification[13]. 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[13].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Shepherdia canadensis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained moisture retentive soil[14][3][15]. Tolerates poor dry soils[10] and maritime exposure[16]. Established plants are drought resistant[16].

Plants can accumulate mercury when they are grown in polluted soils[11]. Rarely produces fruits in Britain[16]. Some named varieties have been developed for their ornamental value[10]. 'Xanthocarpa' has yellow fruits, 'Rubra' has red fruits[10]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[10]. 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[10].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Shepherdia canadensis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Shepherdia canadensis.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Shepherdia canadensis
Genus
Shepherdia
Family
Elaeagnaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
2
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
?
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.2 Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (1972-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. ()
  5. ? 5.05.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.2 Turner. N. J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples UBC Press. Vancouver. ISBN 0-7748-0533-1 (1995-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.610.7 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.2 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
  12. ? 12.0012.0112.0212.0312.0412.0512.0612.0712.0812.0912.1012.1112.1212.1312.1412.1512.1612.1712.18 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.113.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  14. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.116.2 Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  17. ? Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)

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Facts about "Shepherdia canadensis"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyElaeagnaceae +
Belongs to genusShepherdia +
Functions asNitrogen fixer +
Has common nameBuffalo Berry +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partFruit +
Has edible useUnknown use +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure +, High wind + and Drought +
Has fertility typeSelf sterile +
Has flowers of typeDioecious +
Has growth rateModerate +
Has hardiness zone2 +
Has imageShepherdia canadensis 5441.JPG +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useHair care +, Repellent + and Soap +
Has mature height2.5 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useBirthing aid +, Cathartic +, Haemostatic +, Hypotensive +, Laxative +, Ophthalmic +, Poultice +, Skin +, Stomachic +, TB + and VD +
Has primary imageShepherdia canadensis 5441.JPG +
Has search nameshepherdia canadensis + and x +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameShepherdia canadensis +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +