||A genus of 30 to 40 deciduous and evergreen shrubs or small trees in the Elaeagnaceae family, found in southern Europe and Asia, with a sole species in North America. They are valuable as hedges and windbreaks, particularly in coastal areas; some species have spiny branches. The leaves are simple, alternate and may be green or variegated, often covered on the undersurface with silvery brown scales. The flowers are small, usually whitish or cream, pleasantly scented and produced in abundance, bell-shaped or tubular and borne on the lower side of the upper twigs. The fruits may be red, brown or yellowish.
||CULTIVATION: These plants are tolerant of a wide range of soil types, except shallow chalk ones; they like adequate summer water and a position in full sun. Little pruning is required apart from some shortening of long branches to induce a dense leafy habit; they should not be close-clipped when grown as a hedge. Seeds germinate readily when sown as soon as ripe; cultivars can be propagated by soft-tip or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in late spring or summer.