Botanical Name: Elaeagnus maritima
Habitat: Elaeagnus maritima is native to E. Asia – central and southern Japan, Korea. It grows mainly in the coastal regions of central and southern Japan.
Elaeagnus maritima is a deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees, growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). The alternate leaves and the shoots are usually covered with tiny silvery to brownish scales, giving the plants a whitish to grey-brown colour from a distance. It is in flower from October to December, and the fruits ripen from April to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The flowers are small, with a four-lobed calyx and no petals; they are often fragrant. 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, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) 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.
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 month.
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 up to 20mm long and contains a single large seed. Seeds are also eatable,eaten – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Elaeagnus maritima has a lot of medicinal utilization and local physician’s uses it for curing tumours, cancer, and viral diseases (Matthews, 1994 ). In folkoric medicine, the fruit and flower have been used as a tonic and antipyretic agent.
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.
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.