A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Elaeagnus macrophylla Thunb.

Modern name

Elaeagnus macrophylla Thunb.

A robust evergreen shrub of rounded, spreading habit, reaching at present 8 to 12 ft in height in this country; usually wider than high; young shoots silvery white, with a dense coat of scales. Leaves ovate to broadly oval, rounded at the base, pointed; 2 to 412 in. long, 112 to 234 in. wide, silvery all over when young, but afterwards dark lustrous green and slightly scaly above, always of a beautiful silvery metallic lustre beneath; stalk 12 to 34 in. long. Flowers produced during October and November, usually in clusters of four to six in the leaf-axils; they are about 12 in. long and wide, each on a stalk 14 in. long; silvery scaly, shaped like a fuchsia, nodding, very fragrant, the four segments triangular. Fruit oval, 58 in. long, red, scaly, the perianth persisting at the top. Bot. Mag., t. 7638.

Native of the Korean Archipelago and Japan, described by Thunberg in 1784; introduced by Maries for Messrs Veitch in 1879. It is perfectly hardy, and flowers annually at a time of year when few blossoms remain out-of-doors. It is the largest-leaved and handsomest of evergreen oleasters, and is very effective in spring before the young silvery leaves lose their sheen. Allied to pungens and glabra, it is very distinct from them in the broader silvery leaves and broader more bell-shaped flowers.

E. × ebbingei Hort. – This name has been given to a batch of six seedlings from E. macrophylla raised by S. G. A. Doorenbos in the municipal nursery at The Hague in 1929; the pollen parent was E. pungens or E. × reflexa (E. pungens var. reflexa). All six were propagated and distributed and two clones are still in commerce at the present time, one smaller-leaved and more compact than the other. Although not so handsome in foliage as the seed parent, they are more vigorous (G. S. Thomas in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 91, p. 37).

cv. ‘Gilt Edge’. – Leaves margined with gold. Raised by Messrs Waterer, Sons and Crisp, this variety received an Award of Merit when shown by them on October 26, 1971.

E. submacrophylla Servett. – A putative hybrid between E. macrophylla and E. pungens. It is possible that E. × ebbingei belongs here in synonymy.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species can grow taller than 12 ft when allowed to become a tree, as at Saltram House in Devon.

E. × ebbingei. – Unfortunately this hybrid is susceptible to a wilt disease, but whether this applies to all clones (at least two were distributed) is not clear.

† cv. ‘Limelight’. – Leaves with a central variegation of yellow and pale green. It is inclined to revert.



Other species in the genus