Sea buckthorn has an extensive root system and suckers vigorously and so has been used in soil conservation schemes, especially on sandy soils. The fibrous and suckering root system acts to bind the sand. Because the plant grows quickly, even in very exposed conditions, and also adds nitrogen to the soil, it can be used as a pioneer species to help the re-establishment of woodland in difficult areas. Because the plant is very light-demanding it will eventually be out-competed by the woodland trees and so will not out-stay its welcome[K]. The seeds contain 12 - 13% of a slow-drying oil. The vitamin-rich fruit juice is used cosmetically in face-masks etc. A yellow dye is obtained from the fruit. A yellow dye is obtained from the stems, root and foliage. A blackish-brown dye is obtained from the young leaves and shoots.Wood - tough, hard, very durable, fine-grained. Used for fine carpentry, turning etc. The wood is also used for fuel and charcoal.
The tender branches and leaves contain bio-active substances which are used to produce an oil that is quite distinct from the oil produced from the fruit. This oil is used as an ointment for treating burns. A high-quality medicinal oil is made from the fruit and used in the treatment of cardiac disorders, it is also said to be particularly effective when applied to the skin to heal burns, eczema and radiation injury, and is taken internally in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases.The fruit is used as a tonic. The freshly-pressed juice is used in the treatment of colds, febrile conditions, exhaustion etc. The fruit 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.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. Difficult. This is the easiest method of vegetative propagation. Cuttings of mature wood in autumn. Difficult. The cuttings should be taken at the end of autumn or very early in the spring before the buds burst. Store them in sand and peat until April, cut into 7 - 9cm lengths and plant them in a plastic tent with bottom heat. Rooting should take place within 2 months and they can be put in their permanent positions in the autumn. Division of suckers in the winter. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions and usually establish well and quickly[K].Layering in autumn.
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Although usually found near the coast in the wild, they thrive when grown inland and are hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant, it is occasionally cultivated, especially in N. Europe, for its edible fruit. Members of this genus are attracting considerable interest from breeding institutes for their nutrient-rich fruits that can promote the general health of the body (see edible and medicinal uses below). 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. Plants produce abundant suckers, especially when grown on sandy soils. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. The sexes of plants cannot be distinguished before flowering, but on flowering plants the buds of male plants in winter are conical and conspicuous whilst female buds are smaller and rounded.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
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