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item Black, Brent
item Fordham, Ingrid

Submitted to: Mid Atlantic Fruit Vegetable Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2004
Publication Date: 2/1/2005
Citation: Black, B.L., Fordham, I.M. 2005. Autumn olive: weed or new cash crop?. Mid Atlantic Fruit Vegetable Conference Proceedings. 2005(2):15-16.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb) is a large shrub that grows wild throughout the eastern United States. The plants are tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions and thrive on poor soils. The red berries of autumn olive have a high carotenoid content, and particularly high levels of lycopene (30-70 mg/100g). Lycopene has powerful antioxidant properties, making it of interest for nutraceutical use. Managed plantings consisting of three cultivars and four wild selections were established in Maryland to evaluate genotypes and management practices for potential commercial fruit production. Among the more promising selections, annual productivity of autumn olive ranged from 9 to 35 pounds/plant. Mechanical harvesting was accomplished using a commercial blueberry harvester on plants that had been appropriately pruned. The productivity under low-input management, and the possibility for machine harvest indicate that autumn olive may be a commercially viable crop, especially on poor-quality land that may be unsuitable for other agricultural uses.