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Elaeagnus pungens - Thunb.                
                 
Common Name Elaeagnus
Family Elaeagnaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sunny slopes, road sides and thickets in lowlands, usually below 1000 metres and especially by the sea[184, 266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Elaeagnus pungens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Nov to February, and the seeds ripen from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (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.

Elaeagnus pungens Elaeagnus


Elaeagnus pungens Elaeagnus
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[105, 177]. About the size of a large blackcurrant, though the seed is also quite large[K]. A nice sub-acid flavour when fully ripe but astringent if eaten before then[K]. Can be made into preserves, drinks etc[183]. The oval fruit is about 15mm long[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K]. A taste vaguely reminiscent of peanuts[K]. The seed contains 42.2% protein and 23.1% fat on a zero moisture basis[218].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 42.2g; Fat: 23.1g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiasthmatic;  Antitussive;  Astringent;  Cancer.

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[214]. The leaves and the stems are concocted and used in the treatment of asthma, cough, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids etc[147, 218]. The seed is used to treat watery diarrhoea[218]. The root is astringent and is applied to sores, itchy skin etc[147, 218].
Other Uses
Hedge;  Hedge.

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure[75]. Succeeds when planted under trees that have become bare at the base, in time it will scramble up into the tree and fill out the bottom[75].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[11, 200]. Dislikes very alkaline soils[202]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very drought and shade resistant[200]. Tolerates maritime exposure[75]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[200]. The foliage can be damaged in severe wind-chill conditions[202]. This is a potentially valuable fruit crop, fruiting as it does in April and May[K]. There are a number of named varieties[200, 202] and so there is plenty of scope for improving size and quality of fruit by selective breeding. Most cultivars are variegated and therefore slower-growing than the species[K]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. The small flowers have a sweet but pungent aroma. They pervade the garden for some distance on sunny days[245]. Closely related to E. glabra[11]. 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[200]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It should germinate freely within 4 weeks, 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[98]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[78]. 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[78]. It is best to take the cuttings in June[202]. 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[78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Thunb.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[75]Rosewarne experimental horticultural station. Shelter Trees and Hedges.
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[88]RHS. The Garden. Volume 112.
Snippets of information from the magazine of the RHS. In particular, there are articles on plants that are resistant to honey fungus, oriental vegetables, Cimicifuga spp, Passiflora species and Cucurbits.
[98]Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[202]Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
[214]Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994.
A quarterly magazine, it has articles on Himalayacalamus hookerianus, hardy Euphorbias and an excellent article on Hippophae spp.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Kevin Feinstein Mon Sep 24 2007
These plants have indeed been very successful in my heavy clay soil. And despite record winter freezes in my area, they managed to produce the first evergreen Elaeagnus fruit I have tasted. It flowered in the fall and the fruit ripened by early March. It was delicious, but I would happier if it produced more than 5 berry-size fruit. As an understory plant in a permaculture guild, it seems to have thrived while the canopy tree did not (persimmon). I would like to prune it back, which also raises the question of how to best prune it for fruit production. Any ideas?

feralkevin's permaculture and edible wild foods

Andrew D.
Apr 20 2012 12:00AM
I tried planting an Elaeagnus Pungens Maculata specimen from a ~2 litre pot, bought from a small nursery and pruned, directly into some quite heavy rocky soil near the north coast of Scotland at the start of spring. Within a few weeks its health turned for the worst, and most of the leaves on it now appear dead, although there is a small amount of life at the bottom of its branches. A few yards away an Elaeagnus x Ebbingei shrub potted in very similar conditions, but slightly down-slope of a very small swale, is in comparably good health, but has lost a few of its leaves in similar fashion to this one. I put up a couple of photos of the two shrubs here: engineeringourfreedom.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/did-you-say-shrubberies.html If anyone could advise me on what most likely caused this plant's ill-health and what, if anything, I can do to nurture it back to health, I would be very grateful. I currently most suspect root damage and waterlogging, but I don't know how good the drainage is on this site; there mostly seems to be about a foot-thick layer of muddy grass-smothered topsoil on top of a lot of rocks, and I don't know how permeable those rocks are.
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