Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Great Goumi Debate

At our last meeting there was an interesting discussion on identifying Goumi, Elaeagnus multiflora and Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas. Here are some images of the two to compare.

cornelian cherry fruit

goumi fruit
cornelian cherry flowers
goumi flowers
Descriptions from wiki

Cornelian cherry European cornel or Cornelian cherry dogwood
It is a medium to large deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5–12 m tall, with dark brown branches and greenish twigs. The leaves are opposite, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin. The flowers are small (5–10 mm diameter), with four yellow petals, produced in clusters of 10–25 together in the late winter well before the leaves appear. The fruit is an oblong red drupe 2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter, containing a single seed.

Goumi, cherry elaeagnus, cherry silverberry, gumi, or natsugumi
It is is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2-8 m tall, with a trunk up to 30 cm diameter with dark brown bark. The shoots are densely covered in minute red-brown scales. The leaves are ovate to elliptic, 3-10 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, green above, and silvery to orange-brown below with dense small scales. The flowers are solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils, fragrant, with a four-lobed pale yellowish-white corolla 1.5 cm long; flowering is in mid-spring. The fruit is round to oval drupe 1 cm long, silvery-scaled orange, ripening red dotted with silver or brown, pendulous on a 2-3 cm peduncle. When ripe in mid- to late summer, the fruit is juicy and edible, with a sweet but astringent taste somewhat similar to that of rhubarb.

Do you have either of these trees in your garden?


  1. Thanks for these descriptions. To add to the discussion there is also the "autumn olive" or "elaeagnus umbellata" which is quite similar. I have planted a goumi and an autumn olive this year but they're only a foot high so far.

    1. Thanks for the info Laurette. Autumn olive sounds interesting.

    2. Goumi and autumn olive look almost identical. The flowering/fruiting characteristics are the only differences, in terms of ripening time (July for goumi and September for AO), fruit size (goumi much larger) and fruit production/organization (AO berries very numerous in clusters, goumi less numerous and spread out along branch).

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  3. Thanks for researching this, discussion at the meeting! JR


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