Herb latin name: Elaeagnus macrophylla

Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)

Medicinal use of Elaeagnus macrophylla:

The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially 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:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

October to


Habitat of the herb:

Thickets in lowland, especially near the sea.

Edible parts of Elaeagnus macrophylla:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A very acceptable rich flavour when fully ripe, though it is somewhat astringent before then. A potentially very valuable crop, ripening as it does in April and May. We are not sure how reliable a crop it is though, some plants bear very heavy crops whilst others rarely bear fruit. The fruit is up to 30mm long and contains a single large seed. Seed - raw or cooked. A mild flavour, that has a hint of peanut, it can be eaten in quantity. It can be eaten together with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, they are very tolerant of maritime exposure. Reasonably fast-growing and providing a dense cover, it gives a very good protection from the wind. Plants are very tolerant of regular trimming, they can also be cut back almost to the ground and will resprout from the base.

Propagation of Elaeagnus macrophylla:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate freely within 4 weeks, 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. Good percentage. It is best to take the cuttings in June. 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. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Cultivation of the herb:

Thickets in lowland, especially near the sea.

Known hazards of Elaeagnus macrophylla:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.