Definitions

Elaeagnus latifolia

Elaeagnus

Elaeagnus (Silverberry or Oleaster) is a genus of about 50–70 species of flowering plants in the Elaeagnaceae. The vast majority of the species are native to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, with one species (E. triflora) extending south into northeastern Australia, and another species (E. commutata) restricted to North America. A third species (E. angustifolia) may also be native in southeasternmost Europe, though it may be an early human introduction there.

They are deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees with alternate leaves. The leaves and shoots are usually covered with tiny silvery to brownish scales, giving the plants a whitish to grey-brown colour from a distance. The flowers are small, with a four-lobed calyx and no petals; they are often fragrant. The fruit is a fleshy drupe containing a single seed; it is edible in many species, though generally lacking a good flavour. Several species are cultivated for their fruit, including E. angustifolia, E. umbellata and E. multiflora (gumi). Although they are cultivated more in China than elsewhere, they are growing in popularity in the rest of the world.

E. umbellata is reputed to have a high amount of the carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene and has been shown to display antioxidant properties effective against cancer mechanisms in vitro. E. multiflora is among the nutraceutical plants that Chinese use both for food and medicine. Both berries are small, but tasty and abundant.

Elaeagnus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora elaeagnisella and The Gothic.

Selected species

  • Elaeagnus kanaii Momily. (China)
  • Elaeagnus lanceolata Warb. (China)
  • Elaeagnus lanpingensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus latifolia L. (southern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus liuzhouensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus longiloba C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus loureirii Champ. (southern China)
  • Elaeagnus luoxiangensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus luxiensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus macrantha Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus macrophylla Thunb. (eastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus magna Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus micrantha C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus mollis Diels (China)
  • Elaeagnus morrisonensis Hayata (Taiwan)
  • Elaeagnus multiflora Thunb. (Cherry Silverberry or Gumi; eastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus nanchuanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus obovata Li (China)
  • Elaeagnus obtusa C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus oldhami Maxim. (China)
  • Elaeagnus ovata Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus oxycarpa Schltdl. (China)
  • Elaeagnus pallidiflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus parvifolia Wallich ex Royle (central Asia)
  • Elaeagnus pauciflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus philippinensis Perrott. (Philippines)
  • Elaeagnus pilostyla C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus pingnanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. (Silverthorn; Japan)
  • Elaeagnus pyriformis Hook.f. (eastern Himalaya).
  • Elaeagnus retrostyla C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus sarmentosa Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus schlechtendalii Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus stellipila Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus taliensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus thunbergii Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus tonkinensis Serv. (southeastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus triflora Roxb. (southeastern Asia, northeast Australia).
  • Elaeagnus tubiflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus tutcheri Dunn (southern China).
  • Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb. (Japanese Silverberry or Autumn-olive; eastern Asia).
  • Elaeagnus viridis Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus wenshanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus wilsonii Li (China)
  • Elaeagnus wushanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus xichouensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus xizangensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Hybrids

    • Elaeagnus × ebbingei (E. macrophylla × E. pungens)
    • Elaeagnus × pyramidalis (E. commutata × E. multiflora)
    • Elaeagnus × reflexa (E. pugens × E. glabra)

    See also

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