This article has been marked as incomplete and in need of reformatting. Please help us to improve it.

Practical Plants is a community wiki. You can edit this page to improve the quality of the information it contains. To learn how, please read the editing guide.


Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2]. A very acceptable rich flavour when fully ripe, though it is somewhat astringent before then[K]. A potentially very valuable crop, ripening as it does in April and May[K]. We are not sure how reliable a crop it is though, some plants bear very heavy crops whilst others rarely bear fruit[K]. The fruit is up to 30mm long and contains a single large seed[K]. Seed - raw or cooked. A mild flavour, that has a hint of peanut, it can be eaten in quantity[K]. It can be eaten together with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K].


Material uses

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, they are very tolerant of maritime exposure[3][4]. Reasonably fast-growing and providing a dense cover, it gives a very good protection from the wind[K]. Plants are very tolerant of regular trimming, they can also be cut back almost to the ground and will resprout from the base[K].
There are no material uses listed for Elaeagnus macrophylla.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

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[5].

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[6]. 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[7]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[6]. 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[6]. It is best to take the cuttings in June[8]. 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[6].

Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[6].

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


Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[9][4]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[9][4]. Succeeds in sun or shade[9][4]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure[3].

This species is hardy to about -15°c[10], succeeding in the warmer counties of Britain. This is a plant with a very big potential as a commercial fruit crop. The fruit ripens outdoors in Britain in April, a season where traditionally there is no fresh fruit available. The fruit is of a reasonable size, has a very nice flavour when fully ripe and also has a fairly large edible seed[K]. Some research needs to be carried out in order to find the conditions that are necessary to ensure good crops - some plants fruit very heavily whilst others have very light or no crops[K]. This is the second of the evergreen Elaeagnus species to ripen in the spring, about a week or 10 days later than E. cordifolia[K]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[11][4]. Plants can succumb to wind-rock in very wet seasons[3]. Plants are sometimes damaged by voles[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[4]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%. Allied to E. pungens and E. glabra[9].

The flowers are very aromatic[10], their aroma pervading the garden on calm days[K].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Elaeagnus macrophylla. 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 macrophylla.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Elaeagnus macrophylla
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
3 x 3 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. ? Rosewarne experimental horticultural station. Shelter Trees and Hedges. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
  6. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  7. ? Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. ()
  8. ? Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
  9. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
  11. ? RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)
  12. ? Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)