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Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2]. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent[K]. The oval fruit is about 15mm long[3] and contains a single large seed[K]. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K].


Material uses

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure[4][5]. They form a good wind-break, though they are somewhat slow to reach an effective size[K]. They succeed when planted under trees that have become bare at the base, in time they will scramble up into the tree and fill out the bottom[4].
There are no material uses listed for Elaeagnus glabra.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

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[6].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions


Nitrogen fixer


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[7]. 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[8]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[7]. 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[7]. It is best to take the cuttings in June[9]. 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[7].

Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[7].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Elaeagnus glabra. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[3]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and dry soils[10][3]. Requires a lime-free soil[11]. A very shade tolerant plant, it can be grown under other trees and will eventually climb up into them[4][5].

Plants are not reliably hardy in the colder areas of the country[3]. This species has some potential as a commercial crop in temperate areas. It does not always carry a good crop, and research needs to be carried out to find the reasons for it, but the fruit is of a reasonable size and, when fully ripe, of a reasonable flavour[K]. It seems to be the latest to ripen in spring of the evergreen Elaeagnus[K]. Closely related to E. pungens, differing in its unarmed branches and thinner more glossy leaves[3]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[12][3]. 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[3]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.

The small flowers are deliciously scented, their aroma pervading the garden on calm days[K].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Elaeagnus glabra. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Elaeagnus glabra.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Elaeagnus glabra
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
permanent shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
6 x meters
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  4. ? Shepherd. F.W. Hedges and Screens. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0900629649 (1974-00-00)
  5. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
  7. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  8. ? Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. ()
  9. ? Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  11. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-00-00)
  12. ? RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)
  13. ? Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)

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