Elaeagnus multiflora

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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Elaeagnus multiflora Goumi, Cherry silverberry

Elaeagnus multiflora Goumi, Cherry silverberry

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.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are 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: acid, neutral and basic (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.


E. longipes.


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].

Medicinal Uses

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].

Other Uses

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].

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].


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].

 4 pictures - click to enlarge

 Belongs to the following Article

Nitrogen fixing plant species suited to temperate climate such as North Canterbury New Zealand

Nitrogen fixing plant species suited to temperate climate such as North Canterbury New Zealand

Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth. Certain plants have a useful ability to capture nitrogen from the atmosphere. This is often achieved through symbiotic relationship with fungi in the root zone. Being able access unlimited nitrogen allows these plants to grow quickly while also making some available to surrounding plants. The practical reality is that including nitrogen fixing plants of various shapes and sizes amongst other productive plantings improves overall health, vigour and fertility,