Elaeagnus

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Elaeagnus

Description

Shrublets, shrubs, rarely trees, or (in Mal.) woody climbers, branching monopodially, with stellate scales; Leaves spiral, simple, entire. Flowers usually bisexual, in axillary inflorescences, or pseudo-terminal, cymose, actinomorphic, 4(-5-8)-merous, often scented. Stamens (in Mal.) 4, alternitepalous, inserted in the throat; Ovary superior, 1-locular; Ovule 1, basal, anatropous. Fruit a drupe, enclosed in the enlarged fleshy perianth-tube, usually with 8 longitudinal ribs; Seed 1;

Distribution

Asia-Tropical: N. Queensland: present northern hemisphere: present tropical Southeast Asia: present
About 20-?45 spp. over the northern hemisphere through tropical Southeast Asia and Malesia to N. Queensland; in Malesia 2 spp.

Taxonomy

SERVETTAZ (1908, 1909) made an excessively detailed classification of the genus, splitting up the classical species into a number of others, subspecies, and varieties. This work is often more an impediment than a help in the study of the taxonomy of Elaeagnus. The delimitating characters used by SERVETTAZ have usually been drawn from too few specimens, and his use of the shape, size, colour, and consistency of the leaves and the colour of the flowers has proven to be of little value, as these generally are individual features of the specimens, but not of taxa. He had a very confusing way of citing his material. In Malesia he distinguished 6 spp. and a number of infraspecific taxa. Later authors have recognized only one, joining all into E. latifolia, or two, E. conferta and E. triflora. I agree with the latter opinion, although it may be remarked that the differences between these two species and is. latifolia are only slight. The differences seem to be clear-cut when flowers are available, but vegetative material is impossible to identify. None of SERVETTAZ' infraspecific taxa could be maintained.
The Malesian species of Elaeagnus belong to sect. Elaeagnus (sect. Sempervirentes, nom. inval., SERVETTAZ, 1909).

Uses

The Malesian species are usually misidentified as E. latifolia and the possibly different uses of the species can therefore not be disentangled. HEYNE () mentioned the presence of more or less edible, sourish fruits (areuj susumunding or areuj dudurenan) and of extremely acid ones (areuj dudurenan). This may be due either to the presence of various races of one or both species, or it may be of specific significance.

Citation

SCHLECHTEND. - in DC., Prod. 14. 1857: 606
TOURN ex. LINNÉ, Gen. Pl., ed. 5. 1754: 57
SERV. - in Bull. Herb. Boiss. 1908: 381
TOURN ex. LINNÉ - in Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 1909: 1
'T HART& VELDK. - in Blumea. 1980: 393
MAXIM. - in Mél. Bot. 1870: 559