Elaeagnus multiflora
Common Name: goumi
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Native Range: China, Korea, Japan
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Silver-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-9 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have good drought tolerance. Tolerates a wide variety of soils. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. May self seed in the garden. Plants have shown some mildly invasive tendencies (animals and birds help disperse seed) by escaping into natural areas in certain parts of the U.S. Best propagated by cuttings. Can be difficult to grow by seed (seed typically takes two years or more to germinate). This shrub is a nitrogen fixing plant.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Elaeagnus multiflora, commonly called goumi or gumi, is a deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub that typically grows in a rounded form to 6-10' tall. It is noted for producing edible bright red berry-like fruits (reminiscent of small cherries) in summer. It is native to open woodlands, thickets and wood margins in China and Japan. Young branchlets are covered with brown scales. Mature ovate leaves (to 2" long) are dark green above but silver dotted with tiny brown scales beneath. Small, apetalous, bell-shaped, silvery-white flowers (to 5/8" long) bloom in spring (April-May) with fruit appearing in summer (July). Flowers are not particularly showy, but are pleasantly fragrant. Small, one-seeded, berry-like fruits (oblong drupes to 1/2" long) ripen to a showy bright red in summer. Fruits are quite astringent and should not be eaten fresh off the shrub prior to attaining full ripeness. Fully ripe fruits are juicy, sweet and tart, and may be eaten fresh off the shrub, dried or cooked (pies or preserves).

Genus name comes from the Greek words elaia meaning the olive tree and agnos meaning chaste-tree.

Specific epithet means many flowered.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Deciduous shrub which may be grown as an ornamental or for harvest of its edible fruit. Background plant. Screen. Informal hedge.