Elaeagnus caspica (Sosn.) Grossh. - Caspian oleaster.

Taxonomic position.

Family Elaeagnaceae Juss., genus Elaeagnus L.

Morphology and biology.

Tree 3-6 m high. Annual shoots are silvery. Alternate, simple leaves are steno-lanceolate, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, with silvery hue caused by squamules covering both sides. Leaf length is 2-3 times greater than the width. Fruit are small, 6-8 mm long, oval or almost globular. Tepals have three veins. Perianth is yellow. Blossoms in May; bears fruit in August. Pollination type and chromosome number are unknown.


Endemic to the Caucasus. Occurs in the valleys of rivers flowing into the Caspian Sea from the west coast; from the basin of the Sulak River in Daghestan (northern boundary) to the Apsheron Peninsula in the south. Individual locations have also been reported in the Shirvan and Mugan Steppes.


Inhabits riverbanks, especially pebbly, alluvia and sands; less frequently scattered or grouped in gullies; found in the lowlands to the lower mountainous zone. Tolerates saline soils. Photophilus.

Utilization and economic value.

Used for food, tanning and ornamental purposes. Can be utilized in making different types of shelterbelts, especially in soils susceptible to wind and water erosion. It is the closest relative of E. angustifolia L., which was domesticated long ago as a valuable food plant.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 327-329 p. (In Russian)
Grossgeim, A.A. 1962. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 6. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 224 p. (In Russian)
Kozlovskaya N.V. 1969. Distribution of Elaeagnus L. species in the Soviet Union. Areas of plant distribution in the USSR flora. Issue 2. Leningrad: Leningrad University Publishers. 229-232 pp. (In Russian)

© I.G. Chukhina


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