Elaeagnus latifolia, also known as Bastard Oleaster, is an ethnomedical plant native to the Mediterranean and central Asia regions. It is categorized as an evergreen deciduous plant, and can reach heights of 5 to 10 ft. Bastard Oleaster is grown in USDA Zones 9-11 and prefers to be planted in full sun to semi-shade. It enjoys moderate amounts of water and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.
Fruits from this plant are edible and offer many medicinal properties. Round throughout the year, the fruits of Elaeagnus latifolia are small and about 1 cm in diameter. The reddish fruit possess an inedible leathery outer layer, and an edible fleshy fruit inside. Fruits are full of important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, carotenoid, folate, and potassium. Not only is this fruit nutritious, consuming them can also provide anti-inflammatory, anti- Alzheimer's, and anti-aging effects.
Bastard Oleaster is easy to grow and requires minimal care. For cold regions, it is best to plant in a pot so it can be brought inside during periods of extreme cold. Pots should be watered regularly, fertilizer should be applied every 2-3 months, and occasionally prune away dead and overgrown branches.
Overall Elaeagnus latifolia is a low maintenance shrub that is a great source of healthy nutrients and medicinal properties. With its glossy evergreen leaves and spiny thorny branches, it makes a great addition to any garden.