Posted by: Rabideye | August 17, 2009

Eleagnus (Goumi, Gumi, Natsugumi, or Cherry Silverberry) found in Powell River!

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Not a cherry and more like a cross between a plum and very sweet crabapple. Leaves are silvery on the underside, and the pit is long and tapered on both ends.

You may have seen this fruit at the Hot Summer Nights Market (Lucia was selling them). It’s a locally-grown fruit that remains a mystery to most of us– here is some info on what she referred to as the Cornelian Cherry, but ended up being Goumi/Gumi Berry (Elaeagnus Multiflora)

Elaeagnus multiflora (Goumi, Gumi, Natsugumi, or Cherry Silverberry), is a species of Elaeagnus, native to China, Korea and Japan.

It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2-8 m tall, with a trunk up to 30 cm diameter with dark brown bark. The shoots are densely covered in minute red-brown scales. The leaves are ovate to elliptic, 3-10 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, green above, and silvery to orange-brown below with dense small scales.

The flowers are solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils, fragrant, with a four-lobed pale yellowish-white 1.5 cm long corolla; flowering is in mid spring.

Elaeagnus multiflora
a.k.a. Gumi, Cherry Elaeagnus

A beautiful little temperate climate fruit tree bearing bright red berry-like fruits with a succulent juicy sweet flesh that makes your mouth pucker!

Description: A shrubby deciduous tree, usually growing to 6-10ft.

Hardiness: Hardy to as low as -30C.

Growing Environment: Grow in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. It has a symbiotic relationship with certain types of soil bacteria which fix nitrogen for the plant. As such, the Goumi doesn’t need fertilizer.

Propagation: By seeds. Seeds are extremely slow to germinate, taking 1-2 years. Stratify for up to 12 weeks prior to planting. Unfortunately the tree is highly desirable, yet very difficult to propagate.

Uses: The fruits are eaten fresh. The fruit and the tree also have some traditional uses in Chinese medicine.

Native Range: Native to parts of China and Japan.

The fruit is round to oval drupe 1 cm long, silvery-scaled orange, ripening red dotted with silver or brown, pendulous on a 2-3 cm peduncle. When ripe in mid to late summer, the fruit is juicy and edible, with an acidic taste.

Chinese people have traditionally considered them to be among a group of “nutraceuticals“, or foods that are edible and have medicinal values. They are said to decrease cholesterol and have other benefits, but scientific evidence has yet to confirm this belief.

It is occasionally grown in Europe and North America as an ornamental plant and for its fruit. It is naturalised in parts of the eastern United States [1].

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Responses

  1. theres a big one of those bushed growing outside the flying yellow breadbowl. its also known as a goji or wolf berry

  2. Definitely an Eleagnus. Either multiflora (most likely) or umbellata. Goji lacks the silver spots on the berry, and it’s very different from a Cornelia cherry. The silvery spots on the berries make eleagnus a certainty; you’ll also notice that the pits/seeds are pointed at each end, and marked by long ridges/stripes, the seeds have been used as beads on account of this.

  3. On the assumption that this is Eleagnus (hopefully multiflora), would some kind soul be willing to take cuttings in the spring and mail them to me? I’ll provide instructions on how to do it and would pay for the postage.

    I’m finding it impossible (so far) to buy this plant in Canada (US sources won’t ship to Canada) but would love to add it to my goji, haskap, sea buckthorn “orchard” which I’d be willing to swap rooted cutting from this coming fall assuming successful propagation this summer.

    I can be reached at allredirect-at-gmail.com

    Many thanks.

    Mike

  4. Hi. Really good information on Maqui Berry. I found your pleasant blog while researching yahoo. For the last few days I have been attempting to find more. Especially anything to do with the diet babble. I’ve witnessed it all and my best friend keeps pushing her newfound weight loss craze on me. So I’m happy I discovered you. Bye!

  5. Thanks for the valuable article. Glad to have found your this this. I wait for the next postings.

  6. I also have been looking for this plant for some time. If you decide to do some cuttings at some point, could you put me on the list of people to contact? You could have a thriving sideline selling rooted cuttings with these as they seem to be unavailable as plants in Canadian nurseries. I am in Saskatchewan and perennial food plants which can cope with our winters are not that easy to find. I got some hazelnuts, bush cherries plums, haskaps and a couple of apricots from the University experimental farms this spring, will see how they do. They are all pretty tiny at the moment.

    • Hi Pam,

      After much digging, I was able to find seeds and I was able to find a kind soul in the US who sent me cuttings. I got one seed to germinate and I got one cutting to take. I kept both indoors over the winter because I thought that they were too small to risk outside. Both are now outside and the seedling has been planted. It’s putting on new growth but it’s still too early to try cuttings. I’ll be trying hardwood cuttings this winter. If I get more than one to take, you’re welcome to it. Stay in touch if you are interested.

      Mike

      • I am indeed still interested! I hope that your cuttings all took. We’ve had an appalling winter which isn’t quite over even yet but I’m hoping that we’ve got that out of the way now for a few years.

        Please let me know how things are getting along.


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