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autumn olive

Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.

USDA PLANTS Symbol: ELUM
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Shrub


Synonym(s): autumn olive, oleaster, silverberry

Appearance
Elaeagnus umbellata is a deciduous shrub from 3-20 ft. (0.9-6.1 m) in height with thorny branches. It is easily recognized by the silvery, dotted underside of the leaves.
Foliage
Leaves are alternate, 2-3 in. (5-8 cm) long and 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide. The margins are entire and undulate. Leaves are bright green to gray green above and silver scaly beneath with short petioles.
Flowers
Small, yellowish tubular flowers are abundant and occur in clusters of 5 to 10 near the stems from February to June.
Fruit
Fruits are round, red, juicy drupes which are finely dotted with silvery to silvery-brown scales. Each drupe contains one seed. Fruits ripen from August to November.
Ecological Threat
Elaeagnus umbellata invades old fields, woodland edges, and other disturbed areas. It can form a dense shrub layer which displaces native species and closes open areas. Elaeagnus umbellata is native to China and Japan and was introduced into North America in 1830. Since then, it has been widely planted for wildlife habitat, mine reclamation, and shelterbelts. It is a non-leguminous nitrogen fixer.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut
Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service