Elaeagnus x ebbingeii
One of our favourite food forest plants – a hardy nitrogen fixing shrub with edible fruit plus soil building and windbreak properties! This fast growing evergreen shrub forms a dense bush approx 3.5 x 3.5m height and wide (sometimes higher, but can be pruned as low as 1m and used for hedging). They drop leaf litter all year creating a wonderful duff underneath which can then be transferred to neighbouring fruit trees in your system or added to compost heaps. The leaves are thick and glossy dark green with a silver tinge. The shrubs have insignificant white flowers in autumn which will have everyone wondering where the incredible jasmine scent is coming from. Unusually, the fruit is ripe in late spring, and whilst too small to make a decent harvest, it provides a lovely nibble while you’re out in your food forest combating spring weeds! These fruits are oval and approx 2cm x 1cm wide, and red with a very attractive silver marbling effect. Unless fully ripe they can be quite mouth-puckering, but as they ripen they develop a very agreeable flavour and at their peak of ripeness they become quite addictive – in fact I have lost my students to this bush in the past! They are also said to be high in vitamin A, C and E, and high in flavanoids and other bioactive compounds. The seeds are rather large, but also edible, with a very mild flavour, and rich in proteins and fats. These plants are very tolerant of a wide range of conditions except for waterlogging, will survive in full sun or deep shade, are drought hardy after the first year of establishment, frost hardy to -20 degrees, and will tolerant harsh and even maritime winds. You need these plants!!
Certified Organic Plant.