Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Elaeagnus Pungens ‘Maculata’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' leaf (02/09/2011, Koufonisi, Greece)

Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' leaf (02/09/2011, Koufonisi, Greece)

Position: Full sun to light shade  

Soil: Well drained/ Light soil

Flowering period: Late Autumn

Eventual Height: 4m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: USDA Zone 7a-9b

Family: Elaegnaceae

E. pungens ‘maculata’ is a fast growing evergreen shrub. Its leaves are yellow at the centre with a narrow, irregular dark green edged on its upper surface and light silver/ green on the underside. The leaves and stems are covered in small silvery scales. Its branches are slightly spiny. In late autumn it bears small, strongly scented, silvery white insignificant hermaphrodite flowers.  These are followed by brown drupe fruits which turn red and ripen in April/ May.

‘E. pungens ‘maculata‘, commonly known as Golden Eleagnus, Spotted Oleaster, Silverthorn or Silverberry, is native to Japan. This plant harbors nitrogen fixing bacteria in its roots enabling it to thrive in impoverished soils. This plant is resistant to rabbits.

Elaeagnus is derived from the Greek elaia ’olive’ and agnos ’pure’ possibly referring to the fruit. Pungens is derved from the Latin meaning sharply pointed, spiny. Maculata is derived from the Latin meaning spotted.

Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' leaf (02/09/2011, Koufonisi, Greece)

Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' leaf (02/09/2011, Koufonisi, Greece)

This plant is useful to the landscape architect as a fast growing screening shrub and provides valuable winter interest . It is suitable for maritime planting and tolerates harsh winds. This plant is suitable for training as a hedge. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

Ecologically this plant is valuable to nesting birds as the thorns found on the stem provide protection. The fruit on this plant are also a valuable source of food for birds and mammals. The flowers are attractive to pollinating insects including bees.

This plant will tolerate most soil conditions; it will be happy in acid to alkaline soils. It will thrive in sandy, loamy and clay soils.

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. If maintained as a hedge it should be clipped in spring to allow the winter flowers to develop.

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