Botanical Name: Elaeagnus gonyanthes
Species: Elaeagnus gonyanthes
Habitat: Elaeagnus gonyanthes is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on the mountain forests at elevations below 1000 metres in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, and Yunnan Provinces.
Elaeagnus gonyanthes is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in) at a medium rate.
It is in leaf all year, in flower from September to December, and the fruits ripen from April to June. The fruit is up to 22mm long and is yellowish-red when fully ripe.The fruit contains a single large seed. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
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, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the 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 sunny position (but if it is an evergreen it should be shade tolerant). Tolerates maritime exposure. 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%.
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[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. 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.
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. Seeds are also eaten – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
The expressed oil from the seeds is used in the treatment of pulmonary affections. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids 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: An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery.
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.