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A good-looker to keep you looking good!
What’s more, due to their high levels of vitamins and minerals, the berries can also be used to keep skin looking good for years to come.
What is sea-buckthorn anyway?
Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a deciduous shrub with stiff, thorny branches, and pale silver-green leaves. A native of Europe and Asia, the shrub is usually found in China. As it is tolerant of salty air, sea-buckthorn is particularly common in coastal and very dry regions where other plants are unable to survive.
The male plant produces brown flowers, while the female plant develops bright orange berries.
One of the world’s super-fruits, sea-buckthorn berries boast extremely high levels of vitamin C, E and flavonoids, which strengthen immune systems. Averaging 695mg per 100gms, the berries contain roughly 15 times more vitamin C than oranges.
The high vitamin E and fatty content of the berries also help protect skin from UV radiation and free-radical damage. Chemists have also harnessed the healing properties of sea-buckthorn oil for anti-aging preparations to assist skin rejuvenation and to treat such conditions as acne, eczema and stretch marks.
The berries also contain carotene, proteins, amino acids and other nutrients thus offering a range of other health benefits.
Sea-buckthorn berries are used worldwide in juices, jams and pies however, as they’re highly acidic, water and sugar should be added to taste. The leaves can be dried and used to make tea.
The shrub is also popular in landscaping to stabilise slopes, provide wind-breaks or purely for the ornamental beauty of their colourful berries.
How, where and when to plant
Although sea-buckthorn does not generally grow well in most of New Zealand, gardeners in southern regions may have some success in cultivating this shrub.
Propagated from cuttings or seed, sea-buckthorn prefers sandy, loamy or clay, neutral to alkaline, free-draining soil. As a sun-lover, it requires full sunlight and cannot grow in shaded areas.
As sea-buckthorn has male and female flowers on separate shrubs, it’s important to plant both in order to ensure pollination.
The shrubs are largely drought-resistant, so they should only require watering every few weeks; more often over drier months.
Apply fertiliser twice each year - in spring and again in autumn.
Harvesting the berries can be a little tricky, or is that pricky! As sea-buckthorn shrubs are loaded with thorns always wear gloves. Once the berries are bright orange, place a blanket beneath the plant and shake it!
Branches can be removed and frozen. This allows berries to fall more easily when the branch is shaken, however this method will reduce yields from future harvests.
Although still largely unknown in New Zealand, sea-buckthorn seeds can be purchased online and better still Garden-NZ has a bottle of sea-buckthorn body lotion from Weleda to give away to one lucky reader. Click here to enter today!