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Elaeagnaceae: Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.
(soapberry, Canadian buffaloberry, soopolallie )

Soapberry is a deciduous shrub growing up to 4 m height. It has opposite, dark green, leathery leaves with silvery-whitish hairs on the undersurface. The branches, twigs and undersides of leaves are pocked with rusty-colored spots or "scales". Small yellowish-green flowers appear in spring just before the leaves come out. The species is dioecious. Red, berry-like fruits are produced on the female plants. Soapberry grows on coarse soils subject to periodic drying. It has nodules on the roots that fix nitrogen which enables the species to grow on nutrient poor soils. In Nova Scotia, Roland and Smith describe soapberry as distributed "locally but usually abundant where found", noting its occurrence on gypsum in Hant's Co., on gypsum or talus slopes in northern Cape Breton, and "along the coast within reach of salt spray."1
Sources | Notes & Refs | Selected Web Resources | Line Drawing

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Aug.1, 2007. Hants County: Avon Peninsula, on gypsum karst close to the Beaver Pond in the forested upland.
Photographer: JackPine. Notes


Sheperdia amongst Juniper communis.

Developing fruits

Developing fruits.


Selected Web Resources

Notes & References

  1. Roland, A.E and E.C. Smith. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia.