Goumi (Elaeagnus multiflora ovata)

Shrub
E. longipes.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Goumi
Elaeagnus multiflora ovata
Elaeagnaceae

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. A hedge in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall was 3.5 metres tall in 1989[K].

Often used as a rootstock for evergreen species that are hard to grow from cuttings. It frequently sprouts from the base and can out-compete the scion[182].

  • 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].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[1, 3, 11, 15, 46, 177]. Pleasantly acid when ripe, they are usually made into pies, preserves etc[183]. Quite fiddly and difficult to pick without breaking the young shoots[200], this sub-species carries the fruit on longer stalks than the species and might therefore be easier to pick[K]. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent[K]. The fruit is about 10mm long and contains a single large seed[275, K]

    Seed – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, 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]. 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].
An easily grown plant[184], it succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[11, 200]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[11, 200]. Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position but succeeds in light shade[11, 200]. Very drought and wind resistant[1, 11, 200]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[160]. Plants are hardy to about -20¡c[184], but the roots are hardy to -30¡c (although top growth will be killed at this temperature). Cultivated for its edible fruit in Japan, there are some named varieties[3, 11, 183]. Plants can crop in 4 years from cuttings[160]. They bear heavily in Britain[11]. The fruit is well hidden in the shrub and is quite difficult to harvest without damaging the plant[K]. This sub-species produces brown fruits on long stalks[200], would this be any easier to harvest?[K] This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. Birds love the fruits[160]. There is some confusion over the correct name for this species. In the on-line version of the Flora of Japan it is referred to as Elaeagnus montana ovata[275]. 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%. The small flowers are deliciously scented, their aroma pervading the garden on calm days[K].
E. Asia – China and 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.