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Hippophae salicifolia - D.Don.

Common Name Willow-Leaved Sea Buckthorn
Family Elaeagnaceae
USDA hardiness 3-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Alluvial gravel, wet landslips and riversides to 3500 metres[51].
Range E. Asia - Himalayas.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Hippophae salicifolia Willow-Leaved Sea Buckthorn

Hippophae salicifolia Willow-Leaved Sea Buckthorn


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Physical Characteristics

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Hippophae salicifolia is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 46]. A very nutritious food, and possibly the most nutritious fruit that can be grown in temperate climates. It is very rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, plus minerals and bioflavonoids, and is also a source of essential fatty acids[214]. It comes ripe in late summer, though it can be eaten for about a month before this, and will hang on the tree until mid-winter, by which time the flavour has become much milder, though it has also become very soft and difficult to pick[K]. We and many of our visitors really like this fruit, however the flavour is somewhat like a sharp lemon and a lot people find this too acid for them[K]. It also makes a good salad dressing[K]. The fruits of some species and cultivars (not specified) contain up to 9.2% oil[214]. The fruit is used for making preserves[105, 183]. It is being increasingly used in making fruit juices, especially when mixed with other fruits, because of its reputed health benefits[214]. The fruit becomes less acid after a frost or if cooked[74].

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.
Cancer  Cardiac  Eczema  Poultice  Vitamin C

The tender branches and leaves contain bio-active substances which are used to produce an oil that is quite distinct from the oil produced from the fruit. This oil is used as an ointment for treating burns[214]. A high-quality medicinal oil is made from the fruit and used in the treatment of cardiac disorders, it is also said to be particularly effective when applied to the skin to heal burns, eczema and radiation injury, and is taken internally in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases[214]. The fruit 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].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Pioneer  Soil stabilization  Wood

The plant is very fast growing, even in areas exposed to maritime winds, and it makes an excellent pioneer species for providing shelter and helping to establish woodland conditions. The plant is very light-demanding and so will eventually be shaded out by the woodland trees, thus it will never out-stay its welcome[K]. The trees have an extensive and vigorous root system and sucker freely once established. They are thus excellent for stabilising the soil, especially on slopes, and are often planted in the Himalayas to prevent land slips on the mountain slopes and create conditions for the re-establishment of woodlands[K]. The wood is very tough and hard - it can be used for many purposes including wheel hubs and other applications where toughness is essential[K]. It is also used for fuel[146].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not too dry[200]. Grows well by water[1, 11]. A fast-growing and very wind-resistant tree, it is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands[K]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c[200]. Members of this genus are attracting considerable interest from breeding institutes for their nutrient-rich fruits that can promote the general health of the body (see edible and medicinal uses below)[214]. The deeply cleft bark favours the growth of epiphytes[146]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. 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]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a sunny position in a cold frame[78]. Germination is usually quick and good although 3 months cold stratification may improve the germination rate. Alternatively the seed can be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring into their permanent positions. Male seedlings, in spring, have very prominent axillary buds whilst females are clear and smooth at this time[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame[200]. Difficult[113]. This is the easiest method of vegetative propagation[214]. Cuttings of mature wood in autumn[200]. Difficult[113]. The cuttings should be taken at the end of autumn or very early in the spring before the buds burst. Store them in sand and peat until April, cut into 7 - 9cm lengths and plant them in a plastic tent with bottom heat[214]. Rooting should take place within 2 months and they can be put in their permanent positions in the autumn[214]. Division of suckers in the winter. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions and usually establish well and quickly[K]. Layering in autumn[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 :

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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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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Áèðþêîâà Îëüãà   Mon Apr 10 2006

Dear Sirs! Our company deals with the processing of berries. We would like to introduce you our production. Natural sea buckthorn oil: The oil is obtained from pulp of sea buckthorn berries. The company is equipped with up-to-date machinery. During the production we use the progressive technologies. In our production we don't use the extraction method and any chemical species. Due to such technique, we obtain natural (100%) sea buckthorn oil. The oil has bright, orange-red colour and specific (characteristic for sea buckthorn oil) flavor. Pack: Aseptic bag-in-box (capacity - 200 liters) Natural sea buckthorn juice: The juice is obtained through pressing from fresh sea buckthorn berries. It is subject to soft cooking. The juice has bright, orange colour and well-expressed, natural flavor and sweet-sour taste. Contents: Content of dry substances is about - 7-10 Brix. Content of organic acid is about - 1.8-2.5% Vitamin B,A,C,E,K,PP complex, microelements and flavonoids. Pack: Aseptic bag-in-box (capacity - 200 liters) Sea buckthorn pip is dried out at temperature 30Cº. It is the raw material for producing the cosmetic oil from the pip. Pack: bag (25 kg) Dried sea buckthorn pulp is the raw material for production of oil by the extraction method. We are ready to discuss the delivering of all the above mentioned production and also the juice and dried pulp from blackberry, and snowball berry, red and black ash berry and other berries, including wild growing ones. We search reliable partners/ 656008 Russia, Altai territory, Barnaul Zagorodnaya Street, 129 Tel: +7-3852-65-03-59 Fax: +7-3852-39-83-32 e-mail: [email protected] Olga Birukova

Ben Stallings   Thu Feb 22 2007

Please state in your article that Sea Buckthorn is unrelated to the common buckthorn that has proven to be a terribly invasive species in North America and costs millions of dollars to eradicate. Otherwise people may read your article and plant common buckthorn thinking it is useful, or worse, they may dismiss your organization as harmful because they have heard bad things about "buckthorn." Thank you!

Wikipedia entry on "buckthorn" (not sea buckthorn)

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future.   Mon Feb 26 2007

Ben's post gives the reason why we always stress the botanical name of a plant, rather than using common names. The buckthorn he is referring to is actually a number of different European species in the genus Rhamnus. These have become extensively naturalised in N. America and have been declared noxious weeds. They should, under no circumstances, be planted out in that country. They are also slightly toxic, quite unlike the fruits of sea buckthorn which are both very nutritious and edible. It is very important, when identifying any plant, to use the botanical name or mistakes such as Ben refers to could all to easily happen.

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