The Common Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), also called the Seaberry, is a thorny shrub growing up to 6m that produces abundant fruit that is very high in vitamins A & C.
It’s Dioecious, so both sexes are needed for fruit, and it likes a well drained, sunny site. It grows in any soil and is hardy down to -35°C (can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3-7).
Why We Like It
To use the words of Ben Falk, founder of Whole Systems Designs, the sea buckthorn is “a medicine chest in the form of a perennial shrub that fixes nitrogen (enhances soil), grows fast, requires almost no care, is drought tolerant, grows on terrible soil and tastes incredible.”
What’s not to like about that?
It can also be used as a sand dune stabiliser, and makes a good bee plant. But watch out if you have a small yard, because it can grow to 6 m (19ft) high by 2.5 m (8ft) wide, and beyond.
You’ll find plenty of Sea Buckthorn at Ben’s permaculture farm in Vermont, because as he says…
The fruit is like a citrus x100. Uniquely this orange fruit contains not only very concentrated sources of antioxidants but bioflavonoids as well along with unusual essential fatty acids like Omega 7. It’s the closest thing us landlocked people have of growing fish on a tree.
The fruit is often cooked and sweetened to counter its sourness, and makes an excellent juice or medicinal tincture.
Where To Get It
Martin Crawford at Agroforestry Research Trust