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Elaeagnus x ebbingei - Boom.

Common Name Elaeagnus, Ebbing's Silverberry
Family Elaeagnaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range A garden hybrid, E. macrophylla x E. pungens or E. x. reflexa.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Elaeagnus x ebbingei Elaeagnus, Ebbing

(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Elaeagnus x ebbingei Elaeagnus, Ebbing
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Elaeagnus x ebbingei is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from October to January, and the seeds ripen from April to May. 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 full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge; North Wall. In. East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[177]. A reasonable size, it is about 20mm long and 13mm wide although it does have a large seed[K]. The fully ripe fruit has a very rich flavour and makes pleasant tasting with a slight acidity[K]. The fruit should be deep red in colour and very soft when it is fully ripe, otherwise it will be astringent[K]. The flavour improves further if the fruit is stored for a day or two after being picked. The fruit ripens intermittently over a period of about 6 weeks from early to mid April until May[K]. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous[K]. The taste is vaguely like peanuts[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.

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].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Companion  Hedge  Hedge

Plants can be grown as a hedge in very exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. The plants provide a very good protection from the wind, they are very resistant to damage by salt winds and are also tolerant of regular trimming[75]. They have a strong vigorous growth and are faster growing than E. macrophylla[75, 200]. Because they fix atmospheric nitrogen, they make good companion plants and improve the growth of neighbouring species[K]. They can be planted in the line of an old shelterbelt of trees that is becoming bare at the base and will in time fill up the empty spaces and climb into the bottom parts of the trees[K].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Hedge  Hedge  Nitrogen Fixer  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, 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]. A drought resistant plant once established, it can be grown on top of Cornish hedges (drystone walls with earth between two vertical layers of stones). It is very tolerant of shade and grows well under trees[200]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure, growing well right by the coast[K]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c, but they can be deciduous in very cold winters[200]. Fruiting as it does in early April to May, this plant has excellent potential as a commercial fruit crop in Britain. The fruit is of a reasonable size and when fully ripe is very acceptable for dessert[K]. It should be fairly easy to selectively breed for improved fruit size and flavour[K]. Not all plants bear many fruits, though many specimens have been seen that produce very heavy crops on a regular basis[K]. Since this is a hybrid species, yields may be improved by growing a selection of cultivars or one of the parent plants nearby for cross pollination. E. pungens is perhaps the best candidate for this and its cultivar E. pungens 'Variegata' has been seen on a number of occasions with good crops of fruit next to E. x ebbingei plants that are also laden with fruit[K]. The cultivar E. x ebbingei 'Gilt Edge' is also probably a good pollinator[K]. Other cultivars worth looking at are 'Salcombe Seedling', which is said to flower more abundantly than the type[200] and 'Limelight', which has been seen with a good crop of fruits even on small bushes[K]. 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%. Plants produce very aromatic flowers in late autumn and early winter[182]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200]. Sometimes whole branches die out for no apparent reason. This happens most frequently when it is grafted onto E. multiflora[182]. These branches should be removed from the plant. 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

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - this is a hybrid and it will not breed true from seed. If this is not a problem, then the seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78]. It should germinate freely within 4 weeks, 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. Rather slow, but you usually get a good percentage rooting[78]. June is the best time to take cuttings[202]. 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


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 multifloraGoumi, Cherry silverberryShrub3.0 5-9 MLMHSNDM523
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 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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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

david nicholls   Thu Oct 12 23:16:07 2000

I think this may the best performing plant so far on my ridiculously gale battered place, I've trialed about 150 reputedly coastal plants (it is still early days). This seems to be virtually the only species that actually makes progress during gales while virtually everything else gets cut back, including E. pungens. Only hail at around 100 k/hr made a dent, tore leaves more than on some things.

I think I have PFF mainly to thank for info on edibility, but would hate to admit that. I wonder if its' obsurity has anything to do with the awkward name it would never work in supermarkets (I suppose cafe society might think it is Italian or sophisticated) how about "Binge fruit",bingey, Bingy , bing, bingj ?

Haven't tasted it yet.

Klaus   Wed Jun 6 21:39:00 2001

After we planted 4 e.x ebbingei in spring `00, in autumn we planted another 4 e.x e."gilt edge". The latter all didn`t survive the winter with -10° to -15°C. So maybe this variety isn`t as hardy as the species.

Graham Strouts   Thu Dec 29 2005

Ive planted hundreds of E. ebbingei in various parts of the West of Ireland as a useful hedging plant- certainly very tough and good by the sea also, but have hardly ever seen ANY fruits and NEVER have I seen the large crops desribed by PFAF.This includes observations of mature existing hedges and in a wide variety of soils etc.. At my own place in West Cork, I am also planting the last 4 years other varieties- E.umbellata, E.angustifolia, variegated varities etc but no success. I notice in David Jacke's new book "Edible Forest Gardens" E.umbellata E.angustifolia are listed as potentially invasive species; E.ebbingei doesnt seem to get a mention at all. I still live in hope!

m.bruce   Wed Sep 26 2007

Is gilt edge invasive? I live in zone 7 (MD) and would very much like 2 plant a hedge. MB

roberta carradine   Wed May 21 2008

I have just inherited a garden with a substantial Eleagnus x ebbingei its growing through a magnolia tree about 15 ft high. it has fruits on it today 20 may 08 i shall prune it back a bit after i have picked the fruits which are very red because it is covering the route to my bicycle ! what a great find and addition to my new forest garden which remains containerised since my house move three weeks ago. best wishes

sean mc cullagh   Wed Jun 4 2008

I have planted this shrub on a heavy graafwater shale based soil in Cape Town in a hot north facing slope position. climate mediterranean. With minimal summer irrigation it has after 5 years reached 2 meters in height bearing over what seems a very long period 3-4 months masses of the most delightfully fragrant tiny flowers which somehow resemble at first glance the blooms of the strawberry tree,arbutus unedo. In the more inland northern suberbs, growing in deep poor sandy soil I have seen the odd large spreading 4m shrub.It is not very well known here due probably to its somewhat slowish growth and lack of showy flowers. In my opinion though the ebbingei with its lovly greensilver makes a good specimen for the middle to large sized garden, the perfume being a bonus . Berries I have never seen. The array of variegated ones do have their place in the garden to bring patches of sun to dark areas, but should be used with great discretion or else the gold, depending on your taste may appear a bit harsh. this can be toned down by using cooler colours as neighbour plants.

Lewis Lay   Mon Nov 24 2008

I planted an Elaeagnus ebbingei last autumn but it has not flowered at all this year. How long will it be before it flowers?

maddalena   Sun Oct 11 2009

I'm so happy I have discovered which was the plant with its tiny hidden white avorio flowers, I only could smell a profumo on a pista ciclabile and did not know where it came from, it goes to the heart, I will plant one in my garden along the boundary with a neighbor I do not like too much

   Mar 2 2017 12:00AM

got mine from Home depot on sale for $2 the fruit has a great taste, i was surprised but there is very little flesh on them. if you chew the large seed, you can get a bit more out of it but then you have to spit out the woody bit left over. you literally need hundreds of fruit to have a snack. it does produce a lot, but, it needs to. i guess its OK to just get a taste here and there when i am in the garden but the fruit only stays on the plant a couple of weeks. and yes it is astringent if not ripe but its not too hard to tell when they are ripe

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