The Goumi belongs to the Elaeagnus genus (Autumn Olive, Silverberry, Trebizond Date and Goumi Bush) consists of shrubs and trees that produce fruits with remarkable qualities. Goumi berries 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 of the Goumi 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, including Goumi plants, 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 the Goumi bush can be fairly thorny, very useful for a hedgerow. Older, mature plants and named varieties grown from cuttings have few if any thorns.