This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(ancient Greek name, meaning a kind of willow; from elaios, olive). Elaeagnacex. Shrubs and small trees, grown chiefly for their handsome foliage and for their ornamental fruits, edible in a few species.
Deciduous or evergreen, sometimes spiny: leaves alternate, short-petioled, entire, clothed more or less with silvery or brownish scales: flowers axillary, solitary or in clusters, apetalous, perfect; perianth campanulate or tubular, 4-lobed; stamens 4, included, on very short filaments: fruit a 1-seeded drupe. - About 40 species in S. Eu., Asia and N. Amer. Monograph by Servettaz in Bot. Centralblatt, Beihefte 25, pt. 2:1-128 (1908).
These are highly ornamental shrubs with handsome foliage and mostly decorative fruits; the flowers are inconspicuous, but mostly fragrant. Some of the deciduous species, as E. argentea, E. multiflora and E. umbellata, are hardy North, while the evergreen ones are hardy only South. A distinct feature of some species, as E. argentea, E. angustifolia and E. parvifolia, is the conspicuous silvery hue of their foliage, while E. multiflora and E. umbellata are the most ornamental in fruit.
They grow in almost any well-drained soil, including limestone, and prefer sunny position. Propagation is by seeds which do not germinate until the second year and ought to.be stratified and sown the second spring, and by cuttings of mature and half-ripened wood; also sometimes increased by layers and by root-cuttings; varieties and rarer kinds can be grafted on seedlings of vigorous-growing species.
a. Leaves deciduous. b. Winter-buds and leaves beneath and usually the branch-lets silvery white, without any brown scales. 1. angustifolia, Linn. (E. hortensis, Bieb.). Oleaster. Shrub or small tree, to 20 ft., sometimes spiny: leaves lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, quite entire, light green above, 2-3 in. long: flowers short-pedicelled, 1-3, axillary, on the lower parts of the branches; perianth campanulate, tube about as long as limb, yellow within, fragrant; style at the base included by a tubular disk: fruit oval, yellow, coated with silvery scales. June. S. Eu. W. Asia to W. Himalayas. variety orientalis, Dipp. (E. orientalis, Linn. f. E. hortensis variety orientalis, Schlecht.). Often spineless: leaves often oblong or oval, usually rounded at the base, clothed more with stellate hairs beneath than with scales, usually glabrous above at length: fruit rather large to 1 in. long. A.G. 21:405, 519, 613, 645. variety spinosa, Schneid. (E. spinosa, Linn.). Spiny: leaves linear-lanceolate or lanceolate, narrowed at the base, scaly above and densely scaly beneath: fruit smaller.
L.B.C. 14:1339. B.R. 1156.
(E. japonica, Hort. E. umbel-lata variety parvifolia, Servettaz). Shrub or small tree to 20 ft., with erect stems and spiny, spreading branches: leaves elliptic-ovate or oblong-lanceolate, crisped at the margin, usually with stellate hairs above, glabrous at length, silvery beneath, l 1/2-3 in. long: flowers axillary, usually crowded on short lateral branchlets, short-pedicelled; perianth narrow, tube longer than limb, whitish within, fragrant: fruit globose or nearly so, densely silvery when young, pink when ripe, 1/3inlong. June; fruit in Aug. Himalayas, China, Japan. B.R. 29:51. Mn. 5:145. - Not quite hardy N. Sometimes cult, under the name of E. reflexa, which species, however, is evergreen. variety japonica macrophylla is advertised but probably does not belong to this species.
c. fruit juicy, scarlet-red or brownish red.
Spreading shrub, to 12 ft.,-often spiny, with yellowish brown branchlets, often partially silvery: leaves elliptic or oval to ovate-oblong, above usually with silvery scales while young, sometimes glabrous, often crisped at the margin, 1 1/2-3 in. long: flowers yellowish white, fragrant, 1-7 in the axils, usually crowded on short lateral branchlets, tube much longer than the limb, slender: fruit globose or oval, scarlet, 1/4-1/3in. long, erect, on stalks 1/3-1/2in. long, clothed with silvery scales, mixed with brown scales while young. May, June; fruit in Sept., Oct. M.D.G. 1899:569. A.G. 12:206. R.H. 1901, p. 85. S.I.F. 2:54.
(E. longipes, Gray. E. edulis, Sieb.). Gumi. Fig. 1385. Shrub, to 6 ft., with reddish brown branchlets: leaves elliptic, ovate or obo-vate-oblong, with stellate hairs above, usually glabrous at length, mostly with scattered brown scales beneath, 1-2 1/2 in. long: flowers usually solitary in the axils, sometimes 2 on the lower part of the branches or on short branchlets, yellowish white, fragrant; tube as long as the limb: fruit pendulous, oblong, 3/4in. long, scarlet, on slender pedicels, much longer than the fruit; fruit with brown scales when young, ripening in June or July, of agreeable, slightly acid flavor. April, May. Japan, China. B.M. 7341. L.I. 4. G.F. 1:499. G.C. 1873: 1014. G.M. 31:715. B.H. 33:217. F.E. 13:830. A.G. 1890:565. M.D.G. 1901:573. Gng. 1:275, 277. variety rotundifdlia, Servettaz (E. rotundifolia, Gagnaire). Leaves broadly oval, half-evergreen, glabrous above. variety ovata, Servettaz. Leaves usually with stellate hairs above while young, soon glabrous: flowers 1-3: fruit oval, 1/3-1/2in. long, nodding, with brown scales when young, ripening July or Aug.; pedicels 1/2in.. long or longer.
Japan. M.D.G. 1899:569 (as E. multiflora). variety crispa, Servettaz. Similar to the preceding variety, usually spiny: leaves oblong-lanceolate: pedicels as long as fruit
Fig. 1385. Elaeagnus multiflora. ( X 1/2) bb. Winter-buds and branchlets with reddish or yellowish brown scales and sometimes silvery besides: leaves silvery white beneath, often with few brown scales.
cc. fruit rather dry, silvery white.
Silverberry. Erect shrub, to 12 ft., spineless, stoloniferous, with reddish brown branch-lets : leaves ovate or oblong-lanceolate, silvery on both sides, often with scattered brown scales beneath, 1-3 in. long: flowers 1-3, axillary, yellow within, fragrant: fruit oval or roundish oval, densely clothed with silvery scales, short-pedicelled, 1/3-1/2in. long. May, June. Canada, south to Que., Minn., Utah. B.B. (ed. 2) 2:576. B.M. 8369.
aa. Leaves evergreen: usually flowering in fall.
Spineless shrub, to 6 ft., with silvery white branchlets: leaves broad-ovate or broad-elliptic, on stout and rather long petioles, scaly above, usually glabrous at length, silvery white beneath: flowers axillary, with silvery and brownish scales outside; tube campanulate, abruptly narrowed at the base, as long as limb. Japan. B.M. 7638. G.C. III. 25:90.
Spreading shrub, to 6 ft., mostly spiny, with brown branchlets: leaves oval or oblong, undulate and often crenulate at the margin, at length glabrous above, silvery beneath, more or less interspersed with brown scales, 2-4 in. long: flowers in axillary clusters; tube cylindrical, slightly narrowed at the base, longer than the limb: fruit short-stalked, about 3/4in. long, with silvery and brown scales. Japan. variety Frederici variegata, Servettaz. Leaves with yellow center and green margin. variety maculata, Hort. (variety aureo-maculata, Hort.). With a large yellow blotch in the middle. A. G. 13:122. A.F. 23:1015. variety Simoni, Rehd. (E. Simoni, Carr.). Leaves rather large, oblong-elliptic, with few brown scales beneath or nearly without. variety Simoni tricolor, Hort. Leaves like the former, but variegated with yellowish and pinkish white. variety reflexa, Rehd. (E. reflexa, Morr. & Decne.). Branches elongated and flexile: leaves ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, lustrous above, only scaly while young, ferrugineous below. H.U. 4:328. variety variegata, Rehd. (varietyaurea, Servettaz., varietyaureo-variegdta, Hort.). Leaves margined yellowish white.
Spineless evergreen shrub, with spreading brown branches: leaves with yellowish and brown scales beneath: perianth with quadrangular, abruptly contracted tube: fruit long-stalked. Japan. - E. glabra, Thunbg. Spineless evergreen shrub, with brown branches: leaves shining above, with yellow and brown scales beneath: perianth with slender, tubular tube, gradually narrowed toward the base, twice as long as the limb: fruit short-stalked. Japan. S.I.F. 2:54. Alfred Rehder.