Presentation on theme: "My New Favorite Edible Invasible, Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) (the musings and eatings of a field-wisened weed researcher) Catherine Herms (Research."— Presentation transcript:
My New Favorite Edible Invasible, Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) (the musings and eatings of a field-wisened weed researcher) Catherine Herms (Research Associate), Horticulture & Crop Science, OSU/OARDC, Wooster, OH Edible Invasibles The Ying & Yang of Eating Invasives: It is an inconvenient truth that we will probably not win the war against invasive plants like autumn olive. These shrubs are growing by the zillions along roadsides or in waste places and disturbed forests. And autumn olive is so good at spreading, because animals just cant resist its yummy berries. Autumn Olive Berry Jam Recipe Gather 8 cups of ripe autumn olive berries. Add 1 cup of water to 8 cups of berries and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Run the mash through a sieve to eliminate seeds (should result in ~5 cups strained fruit). Combine ¼ cup sugar with ½ box of no-sugar- needed Sure Jell. Mix it in with the strained fruit and bring to a rolling boil. Add ~½ to ¾ cup sugar to taste, return to a rolling boil and let it boil one minute. Can or freeze. Makes about six 8 oz. jars of well set jam. Nice and tart. (http://wildblessings.com/a utumn-olive-berry-jam/) Ive been doing research on weeds and invasive plants for over 15 years, and one of the most important things Ive learned is, If you cant beatum, eatum! That is, the more research I do, the more questions I generate, so I might as well eat while I ponder. Since the berries are already out in nature, and they make a heavenly jam, why shouldnt humans consume them too? By picking the berries, were actually removing some reproductive potential (the seeds) from the environment. But I would never want to encourage anyone to actually plant autumn olive to have a close and reliable berry source. So… I guess I just want us to be savvy invasive foragers! What is Autumn Olive? A deciduous shrub or small tree in the Oleaster Family that grows up to 20 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Native to Asia. Introduced into the U.S. in the 1830s, and commonly planted for wildlife food and cover until its invasive traits became apparent. Found throughout Ohio. Listed as a noxious weed in many states. Produces abundant fruits that are eaten and widely distributed by a variety of birds and mammals. Like other non-natives, it leafs out earlier and holds its leaves later than natives, shading out desirable species. Can germinate and grow in both shade and sun. Has root nodules that fix nitrogen, allowing it to invade native plant communities adapted to low nutrient levels, such as dry forests and prairies. Deer do not commonly browse on autumn olive. IDENTIFICATION Leaves: Arranged alternately on the stem, oval, 2-4 inches long, with finely pointed tips and wavy (but not toothed) margins. Bright green above, and a distinctive silvery-scaly below. Bark/Stems: Young twigs are silvery with brownish scales giving them a speckled appearance; thorns may be several inches long. Older bark becomes light gray to gray-brown. Flowers: Fragrant cream or light yellow tubular flowers with 4 petals and stamens, and arranged in clusters of 1 to 8. Blooms from April to June. Flowers are pollinated by insects. Fruits/Seeds: Small, silvery berries with brown scales when young. Ripen to a speckled red in September and October. Habitat: Moderately shade tolerant and occurs on a variety of soils. Spreads rapidly in old fields and is also found in open woods, along forest edges, roadsides and other dry, disturbed areas. Cultivation: Autumn olive has been cultivated as an ornamental shrub and for the fruit. Berries can be used for jams and jellies, have a high amount of the antioxidant, lycopene, and display antioxidant properties effective against cancer in the lab. Autumn olive leaves and berries. Autumn olive flowers and seeds. Autumn olive shrub and stems.