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Elaeagnus multiflora - Thunb.

Common Name Goumi, Cherry silverberry
Family Elaeagnaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Thickets and thin woods in hills and on lowland, at elevations of 600 - 1800 metres[58].
Range E. Asia - China and Japan.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Elaeagnus multiflora Goumi, Cherry silverberry

Elaeagnus multiflora Goumi, Cherry silverberry


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Elaeagnus multiflora is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


E. longipes.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 3, 11, 15, 46, 177]. Pleasantly acid when ripe, they make a very good dessert fruit[K] though they are usually made into pies, preserves etc[183]. Quite fiddly and difficult to pick without breaking the young shoots[200]. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent[K]. The fruit contains a single large seed[K]. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antitussive  Astringent  Cancer

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. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[214]. The leaves are used in the treatment of coughs[218]. The fruit is prescribed in the treatment of watery diarrhoea[218]. The root is astringent, a decoction is used to treat itch and foul sores[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Companion  Hedge  Hedge  Rootstock

Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. Reasonably fast growing and providing a good screen in the summer, though much more open in the winter. It is a good companion hedge to grow, the plants enriching the soil and improving the growth of neighbouring plants[K]. A hedge in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall was 3.5 metres tall in 1989[K]. Often used as a rootstock for evergreen species that are hard to grow from cuttings. It frequently sprouts from the base and can out-compete the scion[182].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Hedge  Hedge  Nitrogen Fixer  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant[184], it succeeds in most soils that are well-drained[11, 200]. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils[11, 200]. Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position but succeeds in light shade[11, 200]. Very drought and wind resistant[1, 11, 200]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[160]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[184], but the roots are hardy to -30°c (although top growth will be killed at this temperature). A very variable species[266], it is often cultivated for its edible fruit in Japan, there are some named varieties[3, 11, 183]. Plants can crop in 4 years from cuttings[160]. They bear heavily in Britain[11]. The synonym E. longipes is sometimes accepted as a distinct species, differing mainly in having very long peduncles about 2.5cm in length[214]. The fruit is well hidden in the shrub and is quite difficult to harvest without damaging the plant[K]. The ssp. E. multiflora ovata. (Maxim.)Servettaz. produces brown fruits on long stalks[200], would this be any easier to harvest?[K]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. Birds love the fruits[160]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%. The small flowers are deliciously scented with a lilac-like smell, their aroma pervading the garden on calm days[K]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is multistemmed with multiple stems from the crown [1-2]. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is branching: a heart root, dividing from the crown into several primary roots going down and out [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, though it may take 18 months[K]. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking more than 18 months. A warm stratification for 4 weeks followed by 12 weeks cold stratification can help[98]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well[78]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pot as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when they are at least 15cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 10 - 12cm with a heel, November in a frame. Leave for 12 months. Fair to good percentage[78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cibie, Goumi, Gumi, Longipe bush, Mupan-hsia, Natsu-gumi,

Africa, Asia, Australia, Britain, China*, Europe, Japan, Korea, North Africa, North America, Pacific, Philippines, SE Asia, Tibet, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Elaeagnus angustifoliaOleaster, Russian oliveShrub7.0 2-7 MLMHNDM424
Elaeagnus commutataSilverberryShrub3.0 2-6 MLMHNDM324
Elaeagnus cordifolia Shrub4.0 0-0 MLMHFSNDM523
Elaeagnus formosana Shrub0.0 -  LMHSNDM22 
Elaeagnus fragrans Shrub3.0 - MLMHNDM222
Elaeagnus glabraGoat nippleShrub6.0 7-10 MLMHFSNDM423
Elaeagnus gonyanthes Shrub4.0 - MLMHNDM22 
Elaeagnus latifoliaBastard OleasterShrub3.0 8-11 MLMHNDM322
Elaeagnus macrophyllaBroad-leaved OleasterShrub3.0 6-9 MLMHFSNDM523
Elaeagnus maritima Shrub6.0 -  LMHFSNDM22 
Elaeagnus montana Shrub4.0 - MLMHNDM22 
Elaeagnus multiflora ovataGoumiShrub3.0 5-9 MLMHSNDM523
Elaeagnus oldhamii Shrub4.0 -  LMHSNDM22 
Elaeagnus orientalisTrebizond DateShrub12.0 4-8 MLMHNDM422
Elaeagnus parvifoliaAutumn oliveShrub4.5 3-7 MLMHNDM422
Elaeagnus pungensElaeagnus, Thorny olive, Thorny Elaeagnus, Oleaster, Silverberry, Silverthorn, Pungent ElaeagnusShrub4.0 6-10 MLMHFSNDM523
Elaeagnus pyriformis Shrub0.0 - MLMHNDM22 
Elaeagnus thunbergii Shrub3.0 -  LMHSNDM22 
Elaeagnus umbellataAutumn OliveShrub4.5 3-9 MLMHNDM423
Elaeagnus x ebbingeiElaeagnus, Ebbing's SilverberryShrub5.0 5-9 MLMHFSNDM524
Elaeagnus x reflexaTurned-leaf ElaeagnusShrub4.5 6-9 MLMHFSNDM324
Elaeagnus yoshinoi Shrub5.0 -  LMHSNDM22 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Jeff Grover   Mon Aug 07 10:53:37 2000

I'm glad I finally found your web page. I've been growing Elaeagnus multiflora for six years as a fruit crop and have been searching for others doing the same.

The original two plants were E. multiflora grafted on either E. umbellata or E. angustifolia rootstock. This grafted plant produces blossoms in April to produce a heavy crop around the first of July. Besides wood ash from the wood stove there has been no soil amenities added. They are planted on a 25 degree slope with virtually no topsoil over clay .

The USDA Zone for here is 6 but due to the altitude (1400 ft) and heavy rainfall (45 in) we tend to get a lot of freezing rain in the winter and some very hard frosts late in the spring.

The reason I chose E. multiflora for an orchard crop was for the hardiness and the fact that deer won't eat them, as they have everything else in the orchard, and I can harvest a unique berry for the tourist market here.

The information provided on your web page is not available in American horticulture books and is an inspiration for me to expand my orchard.

marguerite nabinger   Fri Jun 1 07:59:14 2001

I was recently reading a website on sustainable agriculture called Wild Thyme Farm which is located in the Oregon/Washington area of the US. He was very enthusiastic about this plant and suggested planting it liberally in pasture areas for forage for cattle. He suggested the plant be coppiced so that it would put out abundant shoots after being cut back. That might be an idea for plant control if the eleagnus is running wild, just turn a herd of goats out in it for a few days!

Gary Letterle   Sun Sep 19 23:11:14 2004

I planted 2 Goumi seedlings in Late 2002. Now ( fall 2004 ) they are 7 or 8 feet tall and had their first crop. Lotts of 1/4 ionch berries. Birds got the outside ones ( about 25% ). the rest were tasty and slightly tart. We ate seeds and all right from the bush. Made good pies and jams also. Put 2 pruniungs in the ground in early 2004 and by the summer they were bushed out and 2 feet tall. Seem to propagate well that way. Gary Letterle West Farmington Ohio ( NE Ohio) [email protected]

elchante   Fri Apr 20 2007

Is the Elaeagnus multiflora plant and fruit like the Tibetan Lycium (Goji)?

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Thu May 10 2007

Elaeagnus and Lycium are not closely related. Lycium is in the potato family (Solanaceae) whilst Elaeagnus is in the genus Elaeagnaceae. However, from the point of view of nutrition, Elaeagnus fruits are extremely high in a number of nutrients and also contain essential fatty acids. This makes them a very valuable food that has very positive health benefits and, from this point of view, have an affinity with Lycium. One difference is that, whilst lots of research has been carried out into the health benefits of Lycium, little has been carried out into Elaeagnus. I believe that future research will show that several Elaeagnus species are at least as beneficial to the health as Lycium.

Rob   Thu Dec 6 2007

We have about 40 elaeagnus specicies growing over the last 5 years here on the Oregon Coast. The goumi started producing after 3 years and we got a nice crop this year of tart 1/4" berries with silvery outside sparkles on them. The autumn olive 'ruby' also produced but the berries were larger and sweeter. Propagation has been easy and we just sucessfully have about 100 seedlings which are rooted of the ruby and goumi, as well as pungens and autumn olive. We want to use them for goat forage, is any one doing this?

Rob   Thu Dec 6 2007

We have about 40 elaeagnus specicies growing over the last 5 years here on the Oregon Coast. The goumi started producing after 3 years and we got a nice crop this year of tart 1/4" berries with silvery outside sparkles on them. The autumn olive 'ruby' also produced but the berries were larger and sweeter. Propagation has been easy and we just sucessfully have about 100 seedlings which are rooted of the ruby and goumi, as well as pungens and autumn olive. We want to use them for goat forage, is any one doing this?

Patti   Fri Dec 7 2007

Rob, No, I don't have goats now that I have goumi berries. Years ago I raised goats. My guoui berry bushes produced a bumper crop of berries this Spring. I made dozens of jars of goumi jelly that have been appreciated as gifts to my family and friends. As far as goats eating goumi berries, I think the thorns may give them some caution although I've seen goats forage on blackberry bushes. The thorns on my goumi bushes are longer and sharper than on blackberry canes. I planted my goumis to attract and feed birds in my backyard and it works. elchante

Sonja   Wed Jan 9 2008

Two years ago we've planted some 200 goumi berry bushes, some of them inter-planted with apple trees, and irrigated alongside a road close to where we keep goats. The first year most of them grew over 6 feet in all directions. We had to prune them this year because they started to smother the apple trees. Our goats were the beneficiaries - not only did they eat the leaves, but the bark as well...

Diane   Mon Mar 17 2008

We planted two goumis in Spring, 2005. They produced a pretty good crop last year. I have been trying to find a source for recipes using goumi berries. I am most interested in making jams or jellies. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Finoxy   Mon Oct 5 2009

Gardens North mention this plant to be USDA 4. Same does Dave's garden.

   Nov 16 2017 12:00AM

I have two goumi plants that are four years old. They are very healthy and huge, but they flower in October, so obviously, they don't bear fruit. Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do to get them to flower at the right time, in the spring. Thanks Jill

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