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Russian Olive
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Russian Olive
D Native Photo: Sonam Tamchos
Common name: Russian Olive, Silver berry, Oleaster, Wild olive • Ladakhi: སརསིང Sarsing
Botanical name: Elaeagnus angustifolia    Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster family)
Synonyms: Elaeagnus orientalis, Elaeagnus hortensis, Elaeagnus inermis

Russian Olive is a usually thorny shrub or small tree growing up to 5-7 m in height. Its stems, buds, and leaves have a dense covering of silvery to rusty scales. The leaves are alternate, lanceshaped, 4-9 cm long and 1.0-2.5 cm broad, with an entire margin. The highly aromatic flowers, produced in clusters of one to three, are 1 cm long with a four-lobed creamy yellow sepal-cup. Flower appear in early summer and are followed by clusters of fruit, a small cherry-like drupe 1.0-1.7 cm long, orange-red covered in silvery scales. The fruits are sweet, though with a dryish, mealy texture. Russian Olive is found in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia to China and Western Himalaya.
Medicinal uses: The plant is famous for its medicinal application. The berry is useful in treating flu, fever, cough, diarrhea, joint pain, ulcer, gastric problem, kidney problems, etc. Not just the berry, the leaves of the plant are considered being a good source of vitamin and are used as tea leaves. It also acts as a pain killer. The roots of the plant are used to treat kidney problems. Oil is produced from the seed and is also used as medicine.

Identification credit: Sonam Tamchos Photographed in Ladakh.

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