Eastern Shore Food Lab

Hippophae rhamnoides - Seaberry

Both hardy and nutrient dense, the seaberry is an incredibly versatile plant that is the embodiment of permaculture and all that it stands for.

Scientific Name: Hippophae rhamnoides

Common Name: Seaberry, Sea Buckthorn

Plant Family: Elaeagnaceae

Etymology: Hippophae comes from the Greek words hippo for “horse,” and phaos meaning “to shine.” This is due to the use of the leaves of the seaberry plant as horse fodder to make the horses’ coats shinier. The species name rhamnoides also originates from Greek and means “resembling the Rhamnus,” Rhamnus, meaning the buckthorn plant.

Edible Parts

This plant is largely used as a food source for both humans and animals such as horses. The long-lasting orange berries are extremely nutrient dense and the silvery willow-like leaves are noted for being attractive throughout the seasons. The fruit is used for teas, jams, jellies, sauces, and beverages. Seaberry oil is also used in cosmetics.

Historical Uses

Historically, seaberry oil has been used for a variety of medicinal solutions such as treating burns, radiation injuries, and intestinal troubles. Different dyes can be obtained from the berries, stems and foliage. The leaves were used by ancient Greeks as feed for horses to promote shiny coats.

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Forest Garden Layer: shrub, understory

Additional Information

This plant has been used as a windbreak for coastal areas or bogs, as it is well adapted to growing in moist conditions, and can even thrive in sandy soil. Tolerant of wind and low temperature. Seaberry is great for use as a hedge and is a fairly low maintenance plant for the benefits that it provides.