Shepherdia argentea Nutt. Elaeagnaceae. BUFFALO BERRY.
Western plains of the United States.
This plant is somewhat cultivated
for ornament. Catlin speaks of it in its native region as producing its
fruit in incredible quantities, hanging in clusters to every limb and to
every twig, about the size of ordinary currants and not unlike them in
color and even in flavor, being exceedingly acid and almost unpalatable
until they are bitten by the frosts of autumn, when they are sweetened
and their flavor becomes delicious. They are dried by the Indians as
S. canadensis Nutt.
Vermont and Wisconsin northward to beyond the Arctic circle and very
common on the Mackenzie. Its small, red, juicy, very bitter and slightly
acid berry is useful; says Richardson, for making an extempore beer,
which ferments in twenty-four hours and is an agreeable beverage in
hot weather. Gray calls the fruit insipid.