Russian Olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia L

Keys to Identification

  • Tree or shrub up to 30 ft tall
  • Leaf is light green above and silvery beneath
  • Many yellowish olive-shaped fruit

This information courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program

Family

Oleaster (Elaeagnaceae)

 

USDA Code

ELAN

Legal Status

Colorado Noxious Weed List B

Identification

Lifecycle

Perennial

Growth form

Tree, shrub

Flower

Small, light yellow clusters, bisexual.

Seeds/Fruit

Olive-shaped fruits, silver when first formed becoming yellow-red when mature. Produced in 3 to 5 years, in great quantities.

Leaves

Simple, alternate, narrow 2 to 3 in long, and are untoothed. The upper surface of the leaf is light green, the lower surface is silvery white with dense scales.

Stems

To 30 ft tall, trunks and branches have 1 to 2 in long thorns.

 

Seedling

Can reproduce by seed or root suckers. Tolerant of shade

Impacts

 

Ecological

Invades both upland and riparian communities. Creates monotypic stands which replaces native vegetation, altering structure nutrient cycling, and system hydrology.

 

Habitat and Distribution

General requirements

Can grow in a variety of soil and moisture conditions, but prefers open, moist riparian zones.

Distribution

Primarly found in central and western U.S. but is also found in eastern U.S.

Historical

Introduced from Europe.

References

Whitson, T.D.(ed.), L.C. Burrill, S.A. Dewey, D.W. Cudney, B.E. Nelson, R.D. Lee, R. Parker. 5th Edition 1999. Weeds of the West.

Western Society of Weed Science, in cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services, Newark, CA

Hickman, J.C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley.

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