Russian Olive, Oleaster tree (Elaeagnus angustifolia) 25 seeds
Shrub Layer in Food Forest
Drought Tolerant, low soil fertility OK
Cannot Ship to CT, CO,NM
The oleaster tree, “iğde” in Turkish (with a soft g), botanically Elaeagnus angustifolius, strongly resembles a willow. Flowing branches with rustling, pointy, long leaves makes one think of a willow. It is also close to olives, actually a relative to the olive family, also known by the name Russian olive. Actually, it is regarded as the ancestor of the olive; the leaves have the same silvery shine and the fruits resemble an olive in shape. Sometimes the wild olive is called oleaster, though they are completely different trees. The rusty brown dried fruit also resembles a miniscule date. There are not many written descriptions of the culinary aspect of oleaster in the English language. Back in 1994, Phill Iddison, a long-time symposiast of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, wrote about oleaster in Petits Propos Culinaires. Phill had previously lived in Istanbul, working on the construction of the second Bosphorus Bridge. Intrigued by this peculiar fruit, he felt the urge to describe it in detail: “They are ovoid, a half to one inch long and have a pale brown skin when ready for eating. The skin is thin and papery and peels off easily to reveal the buff-colored, soft, mealy flesh which induces thirst. It is sweet with a flavor reminiscent of medlar and the flesh clings to the stone which is ribbed and striped brown.” He adds that they are only eaten as a snack but were once also used in breads and making fermented drinks. The medicinal potential is remarkable. Latest research here.