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Botanical Name : Elaeagnus angustifolia
Species: E. angustifolia
Habitat : Elaeagnus angustifolia is native to western and central Asia, from southern Russia and Kazakhstan to Turkey and Iran. It is now also widely established in North America as an introduced species.It grows by side of streams and along river banks to 3000 metres in Turkey
Elaeagnus angustifolia is a deciduous Shrub growing to 7 m (23ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a medium rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
Elaeagnus angustifolia is a usually thorny shrub or small tree growing to 5–7 m in height. Its stems, buds, and leaves have a dense covering of silvery to rusty scales. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, 4–9 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The highly aromatic flowers, produced in clusters of 1-3, are 1 cm long with a four-lobed creamy yellow corolla; they appear in early summer and are followed by clusters of fruit, a small cherry-like drupe 1-1.7 cm long, orange-red covered in silvery scales. The fruits are edible and sweet, though with a dryish, mealy texture. Its common name comes from its similarity in appearance to the olive (Olea europaea), in a different botanical family, Oleaceae.
Elaeagnus angustifolia was described as Zizyphus cappadocica by John Gerard, was certainly grown by John Parkinson by 1633, and was being grown in Germany in 1736. It is now widely grown across southern and central Europe as a drought-resistant ornamental plant for its scented flowers, edible fruit, attractive silver foliage, and black bark.
The species was introduced into North America in the late 19th century, and subsequently escaped cultivation, because its fruits, which seldom ripen in England, are relished by birds which disperse the seeds. Russian-olive is considered to be an invasive species in many places in the United States because it thrives on poor soil, has low seedling mortality rates, matures in a few years, and outcompetes wild native vegetation. It often invades riparian habitats where overstory cottonwoods have died.
Establishment and reproduction of Elaeagnus angustifolia is primarily by seed, although some spread by vegetative propagation also occurs. The fruit is readily eaten and disseminated by many species of birds. The plants begin to flower and fruit from three years old.
Fruits are eaten raw or cooked as a seasoning in soups. Dry, sweet and mealy. The fruit can also be made into jellies or sherbets. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The oval fruit is about 10mm long and contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Some people are reported to use the seed oil, like olive oil, for bronchitis, burns, catarrh, and constipation. Flowers are used for fever, neuralgia, and aching burns, allegedly bringing people back from their deathbeds. The astringent leaves are used for enteritis and fever. The oil from the seeds is used with syrup as an electuary in the treatment of catarrh and bronchial affections. The juice of the flowers has been used in the treatment of malignant fevers. It is 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. The ripe fruits have been used to treat amoebic dysentery. There is general belief that leaves and fruits of the plant have antipyretic effect. In folk medicine, oleaster fruit or flower preparations are used for treating nausea, vomiting, jaundice, asthma, and flatulence. An infusion of the fruit has been used in Iranian traditional medicine as an analgesic agent for alleviating pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The flower is also traditionally used for treating tetanus. Juice of flower is used in Spain for malignant fever. Oil from the seed is used in catarrhal and bronchial affections. Locally the fruit is used as blood purifier and for coughs.
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.
Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. It is fairly fast-growing and very tolerant of pruning, but is rather open in habit and does not form a dense screen. Because the plant fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it makes a hedge that enriches the soil rather than depriving it of nutrients. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery. A gum from the plant is used in the textile industry in calico printing. Wood – hard, fine-grained. Used for posts, beams, domestic items, it is also much used for carving. The wood is an excellent fuel.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.