Sea Buckthorn



Hippophae rhamnoides

Please note we do not advocate planting Sea Buckthorn anywhere near coastal areas as it has the potential to become a weed species, although it is not currently listed as such anywhere in New Zealand.  Please read the article excerpts beneath the main plant description and do your own research. By ordering this plant you confirm that you have read and understood the weed potential of this plant and that you will not plant it in or near coastal areas.

Fast-growing thorny, nitrogen-fixing shrub growing to 6m tall, with extremely nutritious orange fruit in autumn. Suited to most soils. Requires full sun and is frost hardy and wind tolerant.  Good pioneer species for establishing orchards/forest gardens. Ornamental in winter when orange fruit linger on the plant.  Both male and female plants are required for fruiting, at a ratio of approximately 1:12. Please note we currently only supply unsexed plants, ie. we cannot tell if the plants are male or female at this stage, hence the discount on four plants bought together, to hedge your bets (pun intended!).  Fruit is high in vitamins A, C & E and flavanoids, and can be used for making juice, tea, wine, jam and medicinal tonics.  For general information on harvesting and preparing see this article from the Irish Times. A decoction of the fruit can be used as a wash to treat skin irritations and cosmetically in face masks etc.  Useful for dense, stock-proof hedging and hard durable timber for fine carpentry or firewood.  Both yellow and black dyes can be obtained.  Good chook forage and shelter.

Size  – 2023 grades tbc Certified organic plant, unsexed

Please read the following excerpts before you order:

From (Irish Source)

“It’s an alien invasive plant and when it got here it said ‘happy days’ and took over. It thrives in poor soil because it fixes nitrogen from the air. It’s got roots that walk under the ground and then pop up like raspberry runners,” she says.

Then it becomes a dense impenetrable thicket that nothing can grow under it. Here on the North Bull Island, the alder marsh, where the city’s rarest butterflies and orchids live, is threatened by this coastal bully boy.

The sea buckthorn loves tough conditions. Cutting it back only encourages it more. At this time of the year the birds gorge on the berries. Birds have been seen falling drunkenly off fences after feasting on the fermented juice. And when they’re eaten by birds, the seeds start new plants which spread further over the island. “We’re challenged by it. We can’t use foliar sprays. We can’t come in and dig it out of the ground and we can’t cut it back during the nesting season.” So the City Council is asking citizen environmentalists to come pick the berries and then hack back the plants to the stem. Then the Council will inject the trunks with glyphosate to kill them off.

From (UK Source)

Life cycle
Abundant fruit is produced in September if male and female bushes are growing close together, but these play little part in the spread of the plant. Spread is mainly by rhizomes and layering, and in fact some colonies (for example, Portstewart dunes, County Londonderry) are apparently nearly entirely single-sex.

Wildlife and habitat impacts
Sea buckthorn berries provide winter bird food, and it is often recommended for planting for this purpose in gardens. Thickets also provide birds with good cover. The deleterious effects of the species relate to its shading-out of native dune plants and production of floristically-poor dense thickets. Such thickets also inevitably completely alter the character of the local dune habitat, which has direct effects on the composition and balance of the invertebrate fauna

From (US Source)

How invasive is Sea Buckthorn? In vegetated environments with decent soil it will not become a problem because seeds won’t sprout and seedlings can’t survive with shade. Where it does spread is subarctic regions of the world and deserts of sandy soil with low fertility. It has become a problem in Alberta, Canada where one plant can colonize acres. On the other hand, the fibrous and suckering roots bind sand and add nitrogen, so it has been used extensively in China for reforestation and in the Netherlands for dune restoration. For more information on risks see this site connected with University of Wisconsin, Madison

From (US Source)

Some uncertainties as to the invasive nature of the sea buckthorn tree have been called into question over the years. Dr. A Bruvelis, a long time seabuckthorn propagation expert in Europe, states,. “There are some officials (mainly in Great Britain) who account sea buckthorn as an invasive species. [Sbt] has not generally been considered to be a desirable feature on sand dunes in Eastern England and South Scotland because of forming of dense thorny thickets in recreational areas. [Sbt] spread around by root suckers and very, very rarely by seeds. We should always keep in mind that they talk about wild stands exclusively on sand dunes, where [sbt] is able to compete with other species due to humble growing requirements. Considering Seabuckthorn spreads primarily through root suckers, which might sprout up neighbouring plots around small private gardens and urban backyards. In commercial plantations root suckers are mowed along with grass. Old abandoned plantations can become like impenetrable jungles. Excellent place for wildlife.”

From (US Source)

As a non-native plant, seaberry has invasive potential. After observing their initial three cultivars for 10 years, Carandale has seen virtually no root suckering tendency in silt loam soils. They have not observed any spreading by seed, but the seaberry’s intolerance for shade would make this a non-issue in most environments.


Freight:  full list of freight and packing charges

Photos: Kahikatea Farm


Additional information


4 x PB5 discount rate, PB5 (equiv 3 litre)