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Home » Crop of the Week Archive » Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides, Elaeagnaceae)
Sea-buckthorn. Location: Bonn, Germany

Sea-buckthorn. Location: Bonn, Germany

Sea buckthorn is a hardy shrub with edible berries from cold-temperate Eurasia. It grows well on marginal sites, fixes nitrogen and because of its dense rooting system is much used in erosion control in China.  The nutrient-dense berries (borne on female plants) yield a delicious syrup, as well as pulp and seed oil used in cosmetics. But it’s not all good news. The small berry size, the force required to pull off the berries, and the thorniness of the plant make harvesting difficult. So, don’t jump to the facile dismissal of capital-intensive mechanical harvesting technology developed specifically for sea buckthorn, when indeed it brings down production costs dramatically. Mechanical harvesting involves cutting off, freezing and threshing fruit bearing branches as seen in this video. There is also potential to select superior planting material with greater fruits and fewer thorns. The genus Hippophae has several lesser-known useful species. We would be delighted to feature such species here if you would like to share with us otherwise inaccessible information and pictures.