sea buckthorn

[English] plural sea buckthorns

The common sea buckthorn is widespread, growing from the Atlantic coasts of Europe and the UK right through the northwestern China. In western Europe, it is largely confined to coastal regions where salt spray off the sea prevents other larger plants from out-competing it, but in central Asia it is more widespread in dry semi-desert sites where other plants cannot survive the harsh conditions. The branches are dense and stiff and covered with thorns. This makes it difficult to harvest the orange berries which are only produced on the female plant. They are between 6–9 mm in diameter, soft, juicy and rich in oils.

The flavour of the berries is astringent, unpleasant to eat raw unless 'bletted' (frosted to reduce the astringency) or perhaps mixed as a juice with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice. Sea-buckthorn fruit can be used to make pies, jams, lotions and liquors. The juice or pulp has other potential applications in foods or beverages. Fruit drinks made from sea buckthorn have been developed in China and elsewhere. It provides a nutritious beverage, rich in vitamin C and carotenes. A specialty beer called Tyrnilambic Baie d'Argousier has been produced at the Cantillon Brewery in Brussels exclusively for the Finnish Market.

Synonyms in other languages

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