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Russian olive

(Elaeagnus angustifoilia)

Russian olive is a perennial tree or shrub native to Europe and Asia. The plant has olive-shaped fruits, which are silvery at first, then yellow-red when mature. Russian olive can reproduce by seed or root suckers. Birds readily spread seeds and can remain viable for up to 3 years. Spring moisture and slightly alkaline soil tend to favor seedling growth. The plant’s extensive root system sprouts root suckers frequently. The tree can reach up to 30 feet with branches with 1 to 2-inch thorns. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, alternate, narrow, and have simple blades with smooth edges. The leaf’s lower surface is silvery-white, while the upper surface is light green. Flowers are four small sepals in light yellow clusters that are fragrant and appear May through June. Fruits mature from September to November. Russian olive twigs are flexible, reddish, and have surfaces coated with gray and scaly pubescence, becoming smooth.

Russian olive fact sheet   



Russian olive map