Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.
soopolallie (Canadian buffalo-berry; russet buffaloberry; soapberry)
Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Virginia Skilton     (Photo ID #26202)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Shepherdia canadensis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Deciduous shrub; stems erect to spreading, young stems brownish-scaled, older branches brownish and scaly, 1-2 m tall.
Opposite, entire, elliptic to narrowly egg-shaped, 1.5-6 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, greenish on the upper surface, white-scaly and brownish-scaly beneath.
Inflorescence of 1 to several inconspicuous axillary flowers clustered on short branches; male and female flowers on separate plants, the male flowers brownish; petals lacking; sepals spreading to reflexed, 4-lobed, the lobes 1-2 mm long; stamens 8.
Berries, bright red, oval, 6-8 mm long, fleshy, bitter, soapy to touch when crushed.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Shepherdia canadensis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1084 6 2460
Slope Gradient (%)
22 0 262

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

194 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(11), BWBS(940), CDF(2), CWH(15), ESSF(693), ICH(994), IDF(1819), MS(1517), PP(79), SBPS(436), SBS(1251), SWB(120)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry sites in the lowland and steppe to subalpine zones; common throughout BC except absent on the Queen Charlotte Islands, N Vancouver Island and adjacent N coast; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to OH, MN, SD, NM and OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Elaeagnus canadensis (L.) A. Nels.
Lepargyrea canadensis (L.) Greene