Elaeagnus latifolia, Elaeagnus conferta and Elaeagnos triflora are sometimes treated as three distinct species and sometimes as a single entity (under Elaeagnus latifolia). There is also disagreement over the range of the species, with Elaeagnus latifolia variously stated to be native to the Indian Continent or to continental southeast Asia[
]. In this treatment the three are treated as distinct, following the Flora Malesiana[
Many taxa in this genus are separated only by quantitative characters, and better information on population variation is likely to lead to a significant reduction in the number of species recognized. Indeed, recent studies (Du, Fl. Yunnan. 12: 749-776. 2006) suggest that some species of Elaeagnus should be combined[
Elaeagnus latifolia triflora (Roxb.) Schltdl.
Elaeagnus philippensis Perr.
Elaeagnus triflora is an evergreen shrub, often scrambling into trees into nearby trees for support and growing up to 10 metres tall[
]. Older stems are usually armed with thorns that are derived from short shoots - these help support the plant as it scrambles into the surrounding vegetation[
The edible fruit is often gathered from the wild and eaten locally. The plant also has a range of local medicinal uses. It is sometimes grown as a fruit crop in gardens[
], whence it has found its way to central America, and can also be grown as a hedge.
Southeast Asia - Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Australia.
Primary rain-forest, swamp forest, secondary scrub with Gleichenia, sometimes gregarious, from the lowland up to 1,800 metres[
]. Thickets and forests, mainly at low elevations, but ascending to 1,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
A plant mainly of the tropics, moving into the subtropics in Australia. It is found at elevations from sea level to over 1,500 metres. The plant can tolerate some frost, but is killed if temperatures fall below about -4°c.
Succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[
]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[
The flowers are highly scented[
This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[
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[
]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.
Fruit - raw or cooked. A sweet flavour when fully ripe[
]. Juicy, with a tart-sweet flavour, they are pleasant to eat out of hand when fully ripe[
]. Some forms are delicious[
]. The fruit can also be used to make a highly coloured jelly[
]. The fruits are 20 - 25mm long and contain a single large seed[
Seed - raw or cooked. A flavour somewhat resembling a peanut, it is rather nice if eaten with the fruit, although the fibrous seed case would have to be spat out afterwards[
The ripe fruit is astringent. It is given to children suffering from amoebic dysentery[
The flowers are astringent and cardiac[
Plants are very tolerant of trimming and can be grown as a fairly large, dense hedge[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
]. It should germinate within a few weeks, though it may take 18 months[
]. 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[
]. (This information on stratification is probably not so appropriate to this species since it does not experience much frost in its native habitat[
]). The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[
]. 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.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 10 - 12cm with a heel, in a frame[
]. The cuttings are rather slow and difficult to root, leave them for 12 months[
Layering takes 12 months[
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