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 umbellata Thunb.

Modern name

Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.

A large, wide-spreading, deciduous, often thorny shrub, sometimes 20 to 30 ft across, 12 to 18 ft high; twigs covered with brownish scales. The shoots sometimes retain a few leaves at the ends throughout the winter. Leaves narrowly oval, 2 to 4 in. long, 34 to 112 in. wide, tapered at the apex, tapered or rounded at the base, rather bright green above, shining and silvery beneath; stalk about 13 in. long. Flowers produced during May and June, when the young leaves are about one-third grown, in clusters of one to three; each flower 12 in. long, funnel-shaped, silvery outside, creamy white inside. Fruit globose, 14 to 13 in. diameter, at first silvery, finally red; stalk 14 in. long.

Native of the Himalaya, China, and Japan; varying considerably in several respects, one form coming into flower when another is almost past. The habit also varies, some forms being much wider-spreading than others. The largest plant at Kew is 30 ft across. A handsome species both in flower and fruit.

var. parvifolia (Royle) Schneid. E. parvifolia Royle – Shoots at first silvery; leaves covered with distinctly starry hair-tufts on the upper surface when young, becoming glabrous later; silvery and scaly beneath. There is a fine specimen of this variety at Dartington Hall, Devon, about 20 ft high and 25 ft across.

E. umbellata differs from E. multiflora in its globose, short-stalked fruits; in the tube of the perianth being more slender; and in the leaves being paler, longer, and proportionately narrower. It also flowers later.



Other species in the genus