Hippophae rhamnoides, Sea Berry or Sea-buckthorn, is a valuable and attractive landscape plant. Besides providing nutritious and tasty berries it also fixes nitrogen into the soil, similar to many members of the pea family (although this is a member of Elaeagnaceae). It’s been used to stabilize soil, as it grows in poor or sandy soils where other plants may not thrive.
Being native to parts of Europe and Asia, it’s fairly unusual in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, but is gaining in popularity and can sometimes be found in local nurseries. I came across this tree in West Seattle a few months ago, it seemed to be thriving and must have been at least 30 years old. Several of the nurseries I list under the Resources section of this website carry many varieties of Sea Buckthorn.
Many people find the fruits too tart to eat alone and opt to make a sweetened juice or preserve from them. Besides the high Vitamin content the berries also contain essential fatty acids, unusual for a fruit. When extracted, the oil can be used medicinally and is being studied for treatment of a wide array of internal and external medical conditions.
I suggest giving it a try in your landscape if you have a bit of extra room. It’s easy to keep it pruned to size- a recommended harvesting technique is to cut whole branches of fruit, freeze them, and then easily pick or knock the berries off. Transplanting season just started here in the Northwest, so now is a great time to get one in the ground.