Elaeagnus Ã—Â maritima
Many taxa in this genus are separated only by quantitative characters, and better information on population variation is likely to lead to a significant reduction in the number of species recognized. Indeed, recent studies (Du, Fl. Yunnan. 12: 749-776. 2006) suggest that some species of Elaeagnus should be combined[
Elaeagnus Ã—Â hisauchii Makino ex Nakai
Elaeagnus Ã—Â liukiuensis Rehder
Elaeagnus Ã—Â maritima is a much-branched, evergreen shrub. When growing in the shade of trees, the plant will often produce long, scrambling shoots and clamber into the trees, though when growing in the open it is usually no more than 3 - 4 metres tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
E. Asia - central and southern Japan, Korea.
Found mainly in the coastal regions of central and southern Japan[
Elaeagnus Ã—Â maritima is native to the temperate regions of central and southern Japan hardiness zones 8 - 9.. It is unlikely to succeed outdoors in the colder regions of the temperate zone.
Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[
]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[
]. Succeeds in sun or shade[
]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[
hThis species is probably a naturally occurring hybrid, Elaeagnus glabra x Elaeagnus macrophylla[
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%.
Fruit - 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[
Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
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[
Seed - this is a hybrid and it will not breed true from seed. If this is not a problem, then the seed is 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, mid summer in a frame. Rather slow, but you usually get a good percentage rooting[
]. early summer is the best time to take cuttings[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 10 - 12cm with a heel, late autumn in a frame. Leave for 12 months. Fair to good percentage[
Layering in September/early autumn. Takes 12 months[