The genus Hippophae is part of the Eleagneaceae family and includes 3 species: the H. rhamnoides, H. salicifolia, and the h. Tibetan. Only the first plant, of which we will discuss in particular, is widespread in cultivation because it is the only one with ornamental qualities. The rhamnoides, which is also called sea buckthorn, is a shrub that easily turns into a tree. The height can go from 2 meters even up to nine. In general, however, it stands at 3.
It comes from all over Europe and Asia and its ideal habitat is the rivers bank with sandy or limestone soil. The branches are initially vertically slotted and dull gray, but over time they become black. They are equipped with apical and lateral spines. The leaves are up to 7 cm long and 1.5 wide, not toothed, silvery and scaly on the two pages.
It blooms abundantly with flowers carried by short racemes simultaneously with the appearance of the leaves, in the month of April. Being a dioecious plant there are specimens that bear only male flowers and others that bear only female flowers. Consequently, if you want to get fruits in the garden, you must have both plants. These are ovoid-berry, 6 to 8 mm long, orange and contain a single seed, brown. They appear around September, in dense clusters that cover the branches. They are very persistent and often last throughout the winter because they are not very popular with birds.
These shrubs generally begin to bear fruit three years after planting and enter full production when they reach 7-8. Males bloom a little earlier than females for a period of 6 to 12 days. From the moment of pollination it is necessary to wait at least 12 weeks for the fruits to reach maturity.
|Family and gender|
Eleagneaceae, gen. Hippophae, including 3 species
|Type of plant||Deciduous, stripping and dioecious tree or shrub|
|Ground||Very tolerant, even salty soils|
|Flowering||Spring, small and yellow|
|Propagation||Margotta, suckers, cutting|
|Pests and diseases||Generally healthy|
Medium-sized shrub with deciduous leaves, originating in Europe and Asia; it has a fairly rapid growth and can reach 3-4 meters in height. The stem is erect, very branched, the branches are equipped with long thorns; the young specimens have disordered foliage, which tends to become roundish or umbrella-shaped over the years. The leaves are opposite, linear, 5-8 cm long, greyish-green on the upper side, paler, almost whitish, on the lower side. These are dioecious shrubs, so the male and female flowers bloom on separate plants, and it is therefore necessary to have at least two specimens, one for sex, of hippophae to get the fruits. the flowers are greenish-yellow, not very decorative, they bloom before the leaves appear, in March-April. In summer the female specimens produce the fruits, very similar to olives, but of orange-yellow color; the sea buckthorn fruits are arranged along the branches, they are edible, although they have a fairly acid taste and can be used to produce syrups. These plants are used for deciduous hedges or even as single specimens; their ability to consolidate the soil, with a well-developed root system, and the presence in their roots of nitrogen-fixing bacteria makes the buckthorns very suitable also for consolidating landslides, or even in the flowerbeds at the edges of roads.
place in a sunny place, or in any case very bright; they do not fear the cold and they also tolerate pollution and the presence of sea salt in the soil and in the irrigation water very well.
sea buckthorns need fairly regular watering, especially during the hottest months of the year; they do not tolerate prolonged periods of drought.
They develop without problems in any soil, even in the common garden soil, as long as it is not excessively dry.
It occurs by seed, in spring, or by cuttings, in spring or in late summer.
Pests and diseases
They are generally not attacked by pests or diseases.
The hippophae rhamnoides in Europe can be found in three subspecies.
- Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. Carpathian, from the Carpathians. Its habitat is forests and pre-alpine shrub areas. Generally it grows in association with willow. Its branches grow straight and the berries have a spherical shape
- Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. fluviatilis: it is found mainly in pre-Alpine areas and is characterized by long flexible branches, from oval leaves of 3-6 mm. The spines are less pronounced.
- Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. Rhamnoides: it is the most widespread in absolute and is very present on the coasts in particular in association with the sand dunes. Here too it is often accompanied by willow. Its appearance is very thorny with short and rigid branches. The jets are knotty and the general shape of the fruits is cylindrical, with flat seeds.
The morphological characteristics, however, vary considerably depending on the wide range of climatic conditions that covers the distribution area.
Distribution and habitat
Studies have shown that at the end of the ice age the sea buckthorn was present almost all over Europe. In fact it is a pioneer plant that has the particularity of contributing to the enrichment of the soil, fixing nitrogen, and then favoring the subsequent insertion of more demanding species. As more essences have spread, the areas occupied by the h. they are mostly restricted to some mountain and coastal areas. In these isolated communities different subspecies and varieties were developed, each with specific characteristics. However, today it is spread spontaneously in North Africa, in almost all of Europe, in the Middle and Far East. It was also brought to the United States and Canada, where it was widely used to combat soil erosion and especially the coasts.
The food, medicinal and ecological uses of sea buckthorn have been known for at least 1000 years. It is grown both in a traditional way and in organic and biodynamic methods. For example the latter type of approach is widespread in Tuscany.
Industrial and forage uses
Already in ancient Greece and Roman times its leaves were held in high regard as cattle feed. In particular it was recommended for horses of a certain value. It was found to be of great help for vigorous growth and fast weight gain. Even today, especially in China, this type of forage is encouraged. Furthermore, the flour and oil derived from the fruits are used as feed in poultry farms. It has been found that they are decisive in increasing the orange color of the yolks. They are also very useful as a feed for rainbow trout, favoring the salmon coloring of the meat.
Food and pharmaceutical uses
Freshly picked fruits are extremely acidic and therefore not very palatable. Instead, they become palatable in the form of jams, compotes, jellies and sorbets.
The resulting oil can be used both as a food product and as a pharmaceutical base.
There are actually two types of oil. The first comes from the pulp, the second from the seed contained in the center. The extraction can take place by maceration, cold pressing or centrifugation.
Pharmacologically the oil contains a lot of vitamin E and is a source of Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 fatty acids. It is used to promote healing and reaction to burns. Also used to rehydrate the skin and mucous membranes
However the whole plant has always been widely used in traditional western and eastern medicine. It is known that the fruits are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. They contain even 5 times more than kiwi. They also boast an abundant presence of vitamins A, E, F and P.
Horticultural, forestry and soil management uses
• As we said, this plant has been and is widely used to combat soil erosion. It improves the quality thanks to the presence, at the level of the roots, of knots that host specialized bacteria (for example the Actimomicete Frankia) capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. In England it was found that they were able to fix about 180 kg of nitrogen per hectare of land.
• Much used as a defensive hedge or to delimit pasture areas due to its sharp thorns. It is also widely used with a windbreak barrier given that it has characteristics of high rusticity
• It is widely used as a separating element in coastal areas due to its resistance to salt both in the air and in the soil. It can be well combined with wrinkled roses, privet and tamarisk. It also showed a great capacity for resistance to urban conditions, especially pesticides and pollution.
• Like all plants, the pioneer is easily multiplied and therefore has a great forest interest. The lignified branches produce roots very easily and it is therefore very simple, in summer, to reproduce by cutting or layering. It also multiplies very easily by seed and it is possible to have beautiful plants already within three years. This reproduction is so easy that in some places in need of new vegetation the seeds are widely spread even using airplanes.
• The plant is however very considered also from an ornamental point of view, since the silvery leaves and the bright orange berries are an excellent decoration for the gardens and can also be used in compositions for the embellishment of the house.
Crop, multiplication and parasites
As we have said, the olive grows on poor soils that have the ability to make them more fertile. It is therefore a pioneer species that colonizes unstable areas after floods, sandy coasts and landslides. He prefers a sunny exposure, but can live up to high altitudes, even above 5000 m, as happens in Asia. Irrigations, if we live in a dry area, must still be abundant. Multiplication can be easily done by seed. First you need to wash it and let it dry well. Then it must be placed in a light soil and kept at 5 ° C for three months (as it would in nature). The multiplication by cuttings succeeds very well in water. The ideal is to take semi-woody branches, during the month of July. The roots sprout within a week. It must then be transferred to a sandy substrate and kept in a sheltered area. This species can be prey to different phytophagous: coleopters, grillotalpa and noctuides: in particular their larvae attack the roots. They can be checked with specific products. Pesticide-eating pests can also be controlled with insecticides. The young seedlings can be attacked by fusarium and Pythium, but they can be eradicated and prevented with proper cultivation care or possibly with specific fungicides.
Sea buckthorn - Hippophae rhamnoides: Recipe
Strawberry jam and sea buckthorn
400 g of strawberries
200 ml of berry juice
500 grams of sugar
In the evening, wash, dry and finely chop the strawberries. Mix them with sugar and sea-buckthorn juice. Leave to rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, crush the strawberries and sift the whole thing. Pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil (107 ° C) and keep it there for 3 minutes. Pour into sterilized glass jars and refrigerate.
Sea buckthorn plant
Sea buckthorn belongs to the Hippophae genus, which includes about ten species of which the most widespread is the hi
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