Botanical Name: Elaeagnus oldhamii
Habitat: Elaeagnus oldhamii is native to E. Asia – S. China. It grows in the open area at elevations below 500 m metres in Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan Provinces.
Elaeagnus oldhamii is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in).Young branches and buds densely silvery scaly. Petiole 3-5 mm; leaf blade obovate, 3-6 × 1.3-2.5 cm, papery, scales mostly silvery, lateral veins 4-6 per side of midrib, base cuneate, apex obtuse, rounded, or emarginate. Inflorescences umbellate-racemose, 1-3-flowered, in axils of long shoots and of bracteoles on short shoots. Pedicel 3-4 mm. Flowers white. Calyx tube cup-shaped, ca. 2 mm; lobes 2.5-3.5 mm. Filaments ca. 0.7 mm; anthers narrowly elliptic, 2.5-2.7 mm. Style 0.7-0.9 mm, with stellate hairs. Drupe red, globose or nearly so, 7-9 mm. Seed 7-8 mm.
It is in in flower from September 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.
Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils. 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. The globose fruit is about 9mm wide and contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. The globose fruit is up to 9mm long and contains a single large seed that can be up to 8mm long. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Elaeagnus oldhamii 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 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.