Botanical Name: Elaeagnus glabra
Common Names: Goat nipple
Habitat: Elaeagnus glabra is native to East Asia – China, Japan. It grows on thje thickets in hills.(Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;)
Elaeagnus glabra is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft 8in) at a medium rate. The upper surfaces of the leaves are dark green, sometimes appearing metallic; the lower surfaces are silvery and scaly. Small fragrant tubular white flowers appear in autumn. It is in leaf all year, in flower from October to November, and the fruits ripen in May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and dry soils. Requires a lime-free soil. A very shade tolerant plant, it can be grown under other trees and will eventually climb up into them. Plants are not reliably hardy in the colder areas of the country. This species has some potential as a commercial crop in temperate areas. It does not always carry a good crop, and research needs to be carried out to find the reasons for it, but the fruit is of a reasonable size and, when fully ripe, of a reasonable flavour. It seems to be the latest to ripen in spring of the evergreen Elaeagnus. Closely related to E. pungens, differing in its unarmed branches and thinner more glossy leaves. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. 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%. The small flowers are deliciously scented, their aroma pervading the garden on calm days.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate freely within 4 weeks, 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. Good percentage. It is best to take the cuttings in June. 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. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.
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 oval fruit is about 15mm 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.
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. They form a good wind-break, though they are somewhat slow to reach an effective size. They succeed when planted under trees that have become bare at the base, in time they will scramble up into the tree and fill out the bottom.
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.