Monday, 13 November 2017

Sea Buckthorn

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The sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) has excellent resistance to maritime winds and can be utilised to create a low maintenance wind-break or for informal screening or hedging. The delicate silver-grey foliage can be used to great affect in shrub borders providing a contrasting accent colour or as a foil for highlighting flowering herbaceous plants.

The deciduous species generally adopts a shrubby form but can also become a small tree (up to 6m high). The sea buckthorn will thrive in sandy soils and can be effectively used to stabilise dune margins; the species is tolerant of most soil types, providing that they are free-draining.

Sea buckthorn, as the name suggests, is a very spiny plant, so it is a good choice for restricting unauthorised access or for stock-proofing field margins, but should not be used in places frequented by young children or  areas with a high frequency of pedestrian access (e.g. adjacent to public footpaths).

Female plants produce bright yellow-orange berries in late summer that persist throughout autumn into early winter; groups of male and female plants must both be planted to produce fruits. The berries are nutrient rich and contain 15 times more vitamin C than oranges! The oil produced from the seeds and berries has historically been used for a wide range of medicinal uses and recent research has shown that the oil has anti-ageing properties.

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If you require a tough resilient plant to shelter your land or garden, provide a nutritious, seasonal accompaniment to a fruit smoothie and an organic, anti-ageing face-cream, the sea buckthorn ticks every box!

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