Herbs & Plants

Elaeagnus fragrans

Botanicalo Name: Elaeagnus fragrans
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Elaeagnus

Synonyms: E. umbellata rotundifolia. Makino.

Common Name (s): Silverthorn Thorny Elaeagnus Thorny Olive Phonetic Spelling el-ee-AG-nus PUN-gens, Autumn Olive

Local Name: Ghayain

Habitat:Elaeagnus fragrans is native to E. Asia – C. and S. Japan. It grows abundant near seashores.

Elaeagnus fragrans is a deciduous, thorny shrubs or small tree up to 3.5-meter-tall, bearing a bunch of flowers and a cluster of leaves.Shoots and young branches covered with silky scales.

Leaves are alternate, shorty- petioled, oblong- elliptic, acute or obtuse, 2.5- 7.5 cm long, glabrous or pubescent above, silvery- scaly beneath.

Flowers are yellowish- white, fragrant, shortly stalked arranged in axillary clusters. Perianth- tube 8- 10 mm long, silvery- scale outside, white or pale yellow inside; lobes 4, ovate, acute. Stamens are 4 slightly exserted.

The fruit is about 6 – 8mm long and contains a single large seed.


Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and dry soils. Requires a sunny position. Tolerates maritime exposure. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. 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. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.

Through seeds- best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, though it may take 18 months. 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. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well. 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. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 10 – 12cm with a heel, October/November in a frame. The cuttings are rather slow and difficult to root, leave them for 12 months. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are edible, eaten- raw or cooked. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The fruit is about 6 – 8mm 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.

Medicinal Uses:
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.

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure.Except fruits Ghayain wood is used as fuel and its leaves are eaten by sheep and goats. It is generally harvested from the wild by the inhabitants of Western Himalayas for their local use of fuel, fodder, food and medicine. Ghayain is a very attractive plant because of its silvery foliage and fragrant flowers so, it is sometime grown on boundaries as a shelter hedge for its edible fruit and beauty.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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