Sea-Buckthorn ~ Plant Profile

Hippophae rhamnoides
Other Names: Seaberry, Sandthorn, Sallowthorn, Siberian Pineapple
Hardiness Zone 3-6
Seed Available Here

Sea-buckthorn is a deciduous shrub with many traits that make it a useful addition to your homestead. Common sea buckthorn is native to the Atlantic coasts of Europe, northwestern Mongolia and northwestern China. They are tolerant of salt in the air and soil, which is how they got the “sea” portion of their name. This shrub prefers full sunlight and will not tolerate shady conditions under large trees. Sea buckthorn is a fairly drought resistant shrub that can thrive in dry and sandy soils. They row in a wide ph range, of 5.5-8.5. These shrubs grow from 2 ft to nearly 20 ft tall, depending on growing conditions and sub-species. Leaves are a pale silvery-green color and the branches have thorns. The sea buckthorn is a dioecious plant, meaning there are separate male and female plants. The male produces brown flowers and female plants are pollinated primarily by wind. They produce a yellow-orange edible fruit and bear in 2nd or 3rd year. Sea buckthorn are very hardy, surviving -50° F, and disease resistant.

Lets look at some of this shrub’s homestead and permaculture uses…

Nitrogen Fixer

Sea buckthorn is a a non-leguminous nitrogen fixing plant.

Erosion Control

These shrubs have massive and extensive root systems are used all over the world to control soil erosion. They can be planted on highly erodible hillsides.

Hedges and Windbreaks

Sea buckthorn can be used for windbreaks and can also be planted as edible hedges. If growing as a hedge they should be planted 3-5′ apart. Having dense growth habits and thorns, this shrub can be used to create a “living fence”

Nutrient Dense Food

The sea buckthorn is probably the most widely grown cold hardy fruit shrub in the world. The shrub produces a bright yellowish orange fruit that is high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The fruit is actually 15 times higher in Vitamin C than oranges! The fresh fruit is very tart and acidic. It is best used in prepared juices (sweetened with honey or sugar), jellies and jams, pies, and fruit leathers. It is also used in flavoring beer, wine, and liqueur. These berries are a food source for wild birds and a tasty treat for foraging poultry.

Tractor Supply

Natural Dyes

A natural yellow dye can be made from both the berries and the sap.

Medicinal Uses

The Chinese have used sea buckthorn to treat pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, and metabolic disorders. Both the bark and leaves are said to be used for treating diarrhea. Some natural practitioners use sea buckthorn to treat everything from arthritis, ulcers, and gout, to skin rashes.


The sea-buckthorn has huge potential for homestead plantings and permaculture enthusiasts. From seaside homesteads to extreme cold climates, this shrub offers many uses and benefits. Use your imagination and incorporate this interesting plant into your design plans. You can purchase the seeds here.

You can see more “North Country Farmer Plant Profiles” HERE

Sea-Buckthorn, Homestead Plant Profile

One thought on “Sea-Buckthorn ~ Plant Profile

  • January 29, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I planted some when I lived in Utah. I order plants from Raintree Nursery, where I order pretty much everything else. They do, indeed, have massive root systems. I think my males must have crowded out my females or else my females died because I never did get fruit. I’m thinking about them again, though, now that we live in Missouri. I do have some hills that might need controlling. They’re really interesting plants.


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