Herb: Bastard Oleaster
Latin name: Elaeagnus latifolia
Synonyms: Elaeagnus infundibularis
Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)
Medicinal use of Bastard Oleaster:The flowers are astringent and cardiac. The fruit is astringent. 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.
Description of the plant:
(9 3/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Swamps, to elevations of 1500 metres in the Himalayas. Forest openings at elevations of 1500 - 2600 metres in Nepal.
Edible parts of Bastard Oleaster:Fruit - raw or cooked. Acid and somewhat astringent, it is mainly used in preserves, pies etc. Another report describes it as acid and pleasantly refreshing. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Other uses of the herb:The wood is a good fuel.
Propagation of Bastard Oleaster:Seed - 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. (This information on stratification is probably not appropriate to this species since it does not experience much frost in its native habitat). 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.
Cultivation of the herb:Swamps, to elevations of 1500 metres in the Himalayas. Forest openings at elevations of 1500 - 2600 metres in Nepal.
Known hazards of Elaeagnus latifolia:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.