Belonging to the Elaeagnus genus (Autumn Olive, Goumi, Silverberry, Trebizond Date) Silverberry is part of a family consisting of shrubs and trees that produce fruits with remarkable qualities. They are high in vitamin A and E, bioactive compounds, minerals, flavonoids and proteins. Their lycopene content is the highest of any food and is being used in the prevention of heart disease and cancers and in the treatment of cancer. Cooking the fruit increases the lycopene content. The fruits and seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids as well which is very unusual for a fruit. The seeds are also edible although somewhat fibrous, and are especially high in proteins and fats. All of the Elaeagnus species are nitrogen fixers. They take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the ground through a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria that lives in their roots, thereby improving the fertility of the surrounding soils. The shrub species of Elaeagnus are sun or shade tolerant and can be interplanted with larger nut trees to their benefit. Young seedlings of Elaeagnus can be fairly thorny, very useful for a hedgerow. Older, mature plants and named varieties grown from cuttings have few if any thorns.
A very tough nitrogen fixing decidious shrub native to the Rocky Mountains and Plains of Canada and the U.S. Hardy Silverberry is related to Autumn Olive and Goumi and shares their ability to take nitrogen out of the air and put it into the ground; thus improving the soil. Suitable on reclaimation sites and other poor or disturbed soils, or for use as a hedgerow or windbreak. Small fragrant yellow flowers followed by silvery foliage on reddish brown stems. The silverberries are dry and mealy. While edible, they are mostly consumed by birds. Reaches a height of 10-12 ft. tall at maturity. Very hardy and drought tolerant once established. Zone 2-7.
Very ornamental evergreen shrub with striking yellow and green variegated leaves with silver undersides. Tasty, edible, red berries that ripen in spring instead of fall. Golden Silverberry would make a beautiful hedge. Grows to 6-8 ft. Zone 7-10.
Another clone of Golden Silverberry. This evergreen shrub has striking yellow and green variegated leaves with silver speckles on top and silver undersides. Clemson Variegated Silverberry has unusual caramel-colored new foliage. Tasty edible berries that ripen in spring instead of fall, many small fragrant flowers in late autumn. Makes for a beautiful hedge. Zone 7-10.