Elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Elaeagnus pungens

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure[75]. Succeeds when planted under trees that have become bare at the base, in time it will scramble up into the tree and fill out the bottom[75].

  • Medicinal Use

    The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[214].

    The leaves and the stems are concocted and used in the treatment of asthma, cough, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids etc[147, 218].

    The seed is used to treat watery diarrhoea[218].

    The root is astringent and is applied to sores, itchy skin etc[147, 218].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[105, 177]. About the size of a large blackcurrant, though the seed is also quite large[K]. A nice sub-acid flavour when fully ripe but astringent if eaten before then[K]. Can be made into preserves, drinks etc[183]. The oval fruit is about 15mm long[200].

    Seed – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K]. A taste vaguely reminiscent of peanuts[K]. The seed contains 42.2% protein and 23.1% fat on a zero moisture basis[218].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It should germinate freely within 4 weeks, though it may take 18 months[K]. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking more than 18 months. A warm stratification for 4 weeks followed by 12 weeks cold stratification can help[98]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[78]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pot as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when they are at least 15cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage[78]. It is best to take the cuttings in June[202]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 10 – 12cm with a heel, November in a frame. Leave for 12 months. Fair to good percentage[78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].
Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[11, 200]. Dislikes very alkaline soils[202]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very drought and shade resistant[200]. Tolerates maritime exposure[75]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[200]. The foliage can be damaged in severe wind-chill conditions[202]. This is a potentially valuable fruit crop, fruiting as it does in April and May[K]. There are a number of named varieties[200, 202] and so there is plenty of scope for improving size and quality of fruit by selective breeding. Most cultivars are variegated and therefore slower-growing than the species[K]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. The small flowers have a sweet but pungent aroma. They pervade the garden for some distance on sunny days[245]. Closely related to E. glabra[11]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.
E. Asia – Japan.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.