Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Elaeagnus angustifolia, Oleaster, Russian Olive


Nitrogen fixing shrub, tolerates salt, drought tolerant, edible fruit.

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils that are well-drained, though it dislikes shallow chalk soils. Prefers a light sandy soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and dry soils. Requires a position in full sun, growing very well in hot dry positions. Plants are very drought and wind resistant, they tolerate conditions of considerable salinity and alkalinity.

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. It is fairly fast-growing and very tolerant of pruning, but is rather open in habit and does not form a dense screen. Because the plant fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it makes a hedge that enriches the soil rather than depriving it of nutrients.

Edible uses

Fruit - raw or cooked as a seasoning in soups. Dry, sweet and mealy. The fruit can also be made into jellies or sherbets. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The oval fruit is about 10mm 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.

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