Hippophae rhamnoides

Today’s entry is again written by Bryant:

A big thank you to Anne Elliott (aka annkelliott@Flickr) for today’s image of Hippophae rhamnoides (commonly referred to as sea-buckthorn). It is a medium sized (2-4 meters tall) deciduous shrub that often grows in dense thickets on fixed dune habitats in both Europe and Asia. These thickets develop as the rhizomes spread out and shoot up suckers (or basal shoots). As its common name would suggest, its branches are laden with thorns, each about a few centimeters (1-2 inches) long. Also of note is that it is not a true buckthorn (Rhamnaceae) but rather a member of the Elaeagnaceae; its specific epithet rhamnoides means “resembling buckthorn”. During the spring and summer, Hippophae rhamnoides has narrow, lanceolate leaves with a silvery-green upper surface.

Hippophae rhamnoides is dioecious and fruits develop on female plants during the late summer, often persisting on the plant until the following spring. The profusion of the nutrient-rich fruits and their persistence make this species an important winter food source for wildlife and people. Fruits harvested toward the end of winter still showed higher levels of vitamin C (by weight) than found in ripe oranges. Hippophae rhamnoides has an extensive ethnobotanical history, perhaps dating as far back as the Mesolithic. There is an excellent review of the palaeoethnobotanical/nutritional aspects of this species in the BBC series Ray Mears Wild Food. The series may be purchased via Ray’s site, but there also appears to be some episodes uploaded to Youtube.

Hippophae rhamnoides is cultivated widely for the oils found in the seeds. This oil is used as an ingredient in many naturopathic remedies and cosmetics; its use is most popular in Europe and Asia. Hippophae rhamnoides is also cultivated for its ability to stabilize slopes and for its relationship with nitrogen-fixing actinomycetes.

Hippophae rhamnoides

7 responses to “Hippophae rhamnoides”

  1. Wendy Cutler

    Such a bright cheery photo for the dullest supposedly sunny day I’ve ever seen. I’m surprised they’re not grown more around here. The thin grey-ish leaves and bright berries are very decorative, and the berries taste ok – I’ve eaten enough of them off the shrubs at UBCBG to begin to acquire a taste for them.

  2. James Singer

    Was interested enough to try to purchase the Roy Mears series… but not interested enough to put up with all the paranoid BS to do so.

  3. flora

    looks like tomatoes

  4. Denise McLean

    Beautiful photo! There are a number of reasons to NOT plant this. People have tried to plant this as an agricultural crop but harvesting the berries is a challenge with all the thorns. The best way is to cut off the branches! Birds like the berries too resulting in lower yields. The plant can also be aggressive, invading native habitat and riparian areas.

  5. Steve Edler

    This grows around the coast here in Norfolk, England & occasionally inland. Denise, interested in tour suggestion about cutting the branches off. Is this similar ty growing gooseberries as cordons?
    Ray Mears may like his wild foods but, with a couple of exceptions, most of us prefer the cultivated varieties. I’m sure mesolithic folk would have settled for oranges if they could have got them.

  6. Pat

    I love the fact that they smell of vitamin B supplement. Very strange in a fruit. I love them as a smoothie liquidised with raisins and cashew nuts or almonds.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you just a simple thank you to one and all
    i wonder if it would cure a persons flu and or virus
    perhaps pat’s smoothie would bon bon

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