Alphabetical Plant Listing

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive)

Autumn Oleaster, Autumn Olive, Oleaster, Silverberry, Elaeagnus crispa


Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive) is a large deciduous shrub with silvery or golden brown thorny stems bearing narrowly oval, leathery, wavy-edged leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm). Silvery when young, the leaves mature to green with distinctive silver scales on the undersides. Fragrant silvery white to creamy-yellow flowers borne in small clusters appear in the leaf axils in spring to early summer. They are followed by a profusion of egg-shaped edible fruits which ripen to a speckled red in early fall. The fruits are juicy, sweet and tart, and may be eaten fresh off the shrub, dried or cooked (pies, jams or preserves). Autumn Olive spreads by root suckering and self-seeding. A single Autumn Olive plant can produce an annual crop of 80 pounds of edible fruits containing up to 200,000 seeds. Birds and animals consume the fruits and help distribute the seed.

Native to China and Japan, Autumn Olive was introduced into North America in 1830. Noted for its rapid growth, showy-edible fruits and attractive appearance, it has been widely planted for wildlife habitat, mine reclamation, and shelterbelts. Plants have naturalized over time. Autumn Olive invades old fields, woodland edges, and other disturbed areas. It can form a dense shrub layer which easily out-competes, suppresses and displaces native species and closes open areas. Autumn Olive is now listed as an invasive species in a number of States in the central and eastern U.S. including several States where it has been banned for sale, distribution or cultivation.

  • Grows up to 10-15 ft. tall (300-450 cm) and 20-30 ft. wide (600-900 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade, in any well-drained soils, including poor soil, except very shallow chalk. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Good shrub for coastal gardens, cottage gardens or hedges and screens.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • No routine pruning necessary. Remove diseased, damaged, congested or crossing shoots.
  • Propagate by seed or by softwood or semi-ripe cuttings.
  • Native to China, Japan, Himalayas.
  • Find where this species is invasive in the United States.
  • Discover beautiful U.S. native plant alternatives.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage

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terra incognita, Binimin, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 20' – 30' (6m – 9m)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage

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