HIMALAYAN SILVERBUSH

Also Known As
ENGLISH:
Bastard Oleaster
Oleaster [12]
Wild Olive [12]
INDIA:
Ambgul
Bon-Jara
Chhokhua
Dibaguda
Hejjala
Hittele
Hulige
Hunaseballi
Hundasebilu
Karipuli
Kayalampuvalli
Kerahuli
Kylambuvalli
Leuchadia
Melekollija
Melikolaja
Melikollaga
Nildook
Nurgi
Safed Buti
Safedbuti
Saulengi-A-Rikang
Tapot
The-Tumda-Araung” [12]
INDIA, MEGHALAYA [GARO TRIBE]:
Chhokhua [15]
INDIA, MEGHALAYA [JAINTIA TRIBE}:
Soh Shang [15]
INDIA, MEGHALAYA [KHASI TRIBE]
Soh Shang [15] 
MALAY:
D’ud’uranan
THAILAND:
Malad
Malawat
Malawt
Malud
NOTE:
"Malot" usually refers to Elaeagnus conferta in Thai. [12]
OTHER
Gaura 


Order:   Rosales
Family:   Elaeagnaceae
Genus:    Elaeagnus
Species: latifolia

Florida c s

Edible Parts
Fruit Nut Caution
Animal Interaction
Bee
Other Uses
Mug Medicinal Fragrant Hedge Nitrogen fixer Ornamental Firewood
This beautiful shrub produces two inch, elongated, red fruits, which are grown by some of my Thai friends in the Tampa Bay area.  My Thai friends here in Florida usually call it Malud. The leaves are silver-speckled over green, and look like some scoundrel spray-painted the leaves with silver spray paint. The flowers are delightfully fragrant and bees are very attracted to them. The fruits are sour, acidic, and somewhat astringent, sort of like a sour plum, and I love them - some folks do not.  Elaeagnus fruits are a "good source of essential fatty acids, which is unusual for a fruit." Some Asians dip the fruits in a little salt to balance out the sour taste. Spit out the hard single seed and plant it to share out with friends. Be sure to keep newly planted plants watered well during their first season in the ground to get them well established - they hate to dry out. Shade-grown seedlings should be covered lightly with some palm leaves or given some other type of temporary sun shade as they tend to get sun burned if placed in full sun too quickly. I have seen some of the healthiest plants growing in slightly shaded locations. There are some similar looking species of Elaeagnus that also grow in Southeast Asia such as E. conferta, and they are easily confused. Luckily, they too yield edible fruits.




CAUTION: Although Plants For a Future tells us that the seed is edible raw or cooked, I would like to see some other sources that back this up. I would advise against eating them. If you do, be careful, as the seed is quite hard and may break a tooth. Please let me know if you know of other respected sources of information concerning the ingestion of the seeds, thanks. 
EDIBLE FRUITS: CAUTION:  Each fruit contains a single seed that is spat out, don't swallow it. "The fruits are perishable and do not stay for more that 3-4 days at room temperature." [3]
- SUMMARY OF EDIBLE FRUIT USES: RAW: Out-of-hand / Salt added, if preferred. COOKED: Chutney / Drinks / Pies / Preserves.
- Succulent and edible raw, acid and somewhat astringent, also occasionally cooked.  No known hazards. [1]  "At the markets in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand you may sometimes see heaps of red berries for sale. They resemble giant versions of the fruits of European sea-buckthorn  (Hippophaërhamnoides, Elaeagnaceae) and are quite tasty. They come from a wild shrub in the nearby mountains called ‘Ma rot’ by the locals, or Elaeagnuslatifolia (Elaeagnaceae) by the scientists." [7] Cornucopia states that “it is mainly used in preserves, pies, etc.” [10]  “It is quite popular in Megahlaya and Arunachal [India], where the fruits, picked from wild, are also offered for sale in small towns.”  The Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya all pick and eat these fruits raw from the wild. [15] “The fruits are eaten fresh out of hand. Some people, who find the fruits too sour for their taste, mix a little salt with the fruits.  The fruits are perishable and do not stay for more that 3-4 days at room temperature.” Tropical Fruit Forum – “Tastes to me like a tarty plum.”  Better than most Elaeagnus species.  Pick totally ripe, otherwise it will be astringent.
- NOTE: Some people, who find the fruits too sour for their taste, mix a little salt with the fruits." [3]
- NUTRITION:  The New Plantsman writes, “The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds.  It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit.” 
EDIBLE SEED:  Plants for a Future tells us that the “seed [is edible] raw or cooked.  It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.”  CAUTION: I feel that the seed may be too tough to eat.  Be careful.  I will try one and let you know how it went, the next time the fruits are ripe.
MEDICINAL FLOWERS:  According to the Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants, “the flowers are astringent and cardiac.”
MEDICINAL LEAVES: “Pounded leaves squeezed and the juice drunk in water for urinary problems.” [12] 
NITROGEN FIXER:  This species has root nodules and fixes nitrogen. [3,1]  “An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.”  
FIREWOOD:  “The wood is a good fuel.” Sometimes gathered from the wild for fuel.  
WILDLIFE:  Pollinated by bees. "The shrubbery is a good hiding place for little birds and lizards." [7]
HEDGE: It "can be formed into a hedge." [9]
VIDEO FROM THAILAND:
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpCFQEXAJzM
YouTube embedded link: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hpCFQEXAJzM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

More Details

NATIVE TO:  Eastern Asia, southern Asia [2], India.  “through out in the hilly regions of East India.  It is quite popular Megahlaya and Arunachal where the fruits, picked from wild, are also offered for sale in small towns.” [3] "Recorded" in "Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam." [14]
HABITAT:  Hilly areas, swamps, to elevations of 1500 metres in the Himalayas. Forest openings at elevations of 1500 - 2600 metres in Nepal. [1]
- IN THE GARDEN: "Woodland Garden, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade." [1]
DESCRIPTION: “A large woody evergreen straggling or scandent shrub, often spiny; bark blackish grey, rough, often with raised lenticels; branches densely crowded with ferruginous scales.” 
- VARIETIES: An unnamed larger-fruited variety, with fruits to 2.5 inches long, is sold at the Mustang Flea Market in Pinellas Park, Florida, that has an even more sour flavor.
- HEIGHT: To 9 feet tall. 
- LEAVES: “Leaves alternate,” “glabrescent above, clothed beneath with silvery or ferruginous scales.” 
- FLOWERS: Fragrant. "The flowers are hermaphroditic (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees." [1]
- FRUITS: 2.5-4 cm long, red or [occasionally] yellow when ripe. 
- BEARING AGE: "It starts bearing at 2 years after planting. A mature tree has been found  to yield around 10-15 kg fruit per tree in Megahaya, India." [3]
CULTURE:
- HARDINESS: Some sources claim that it is hardy north into USDA zone 8, others to zone 9. I have seen the low temperature listed as 20F, as well as 30F.
- NOTE ON HARDINESS: Please let me know at which temperature you see plants endure problems from cold snaps. I will make a note of it here, after some of you do. Thanks.
- LIGHT: Dappled shade best. Tolerates full sun. One source tells us that it "requires a sunny position." [1]
- SOIL: It “prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils.”  Does well in most well-drained soils.  "Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil." [1]
- NITROGEN FIXATION: "This species has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria." [3]
- COMPANION PLANT: "An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%." [1]
- PROPAGATION:
- FROM SEEDS: Propagate from fresh seeds.  They may take up to 18 months to germinate.  They usually eventually germinate quite well. 
- FROM LAYERS AND CUTTINGS: Also by layers or cuttings. “The cuttings are rather slow and difficult to root, leave them for 12 months.”  “Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7-10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame.  Also, cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 10-12cm with a heel, October/November in a frame.” 
- CAUTION: "The cuttings are rather slow and difficult to root, leave them for 12 months." [1]
- WATER: "You need to water it during the hottest and driest time." [7] 

Flower Color
Yellow
Flowering Type
Hermaphroditic

Fruiting Calendar
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D


Fruit Color
Red
Bearing Age
2 years

Habitat
Dappled Shade
Native?
Non-Native


Plant Form
Woody Evergreen Perennial Shrub
Height
10 feet
Width
10 feet
Rate of Growth
Moderate


Hardiness Zone
9a to 11b
Damaging Temp.
25°F
Ease of growth
Moderate
Light
Part Sun Full Sun
Soil
Sandy Rich Clay Well-Drained
pH
7.0
Spacing
10 feet


When to Propagate
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

When to Harvest
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D


Sources for acquiring

POTTED PLANTS: Potted plants are occasionally sold at the Mustang Flea Market in Pinellas Park, FL, usually by Thai vendors.  
FRUITS: Fruits, available in the spring, are also sometime sold at this market - try planting the large single seed within each fruit after you munch on it.  
SEEDS: Fresh seeds, shipped from sources in Thailand, can be found at times on ebay or amazon, usually for approximately three dollars for ten seeds. 


References

[4] 7_Heads’s Bucket on photobucket.
[11] A Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language.
[10] Cornucopia - A Sourcebook of Edible Plants.
[12] CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants.
[6] crfg [California Rare Fruit Growers].
[7] Dokmai Dogma Blog.
[9] fruitalestropicales.com.
[3] fruitipedia.com.
[8] Paul Hebert Center.
[1] pfaf.org {Plants For A Future].
[13] Polynesian Produce.
[14] Thai Forest Bulletin, 2015.
[15] Tribal knowledge on wild edible plants of Meghalaya, Northeast India, 2006 article.
[5] tropicalfruitforum.com. 
[2] Wikipedia. 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017