Virginia Tech Dendrology

Russian-olive Elaeagnaceae Elaeagnus angustifolia L. Listen to the Latin symbol: ELAN
Leaf: Alternate, simple, 1 to 3 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, linear or lanceolate in shape with an entire margin. Leaves are dull green to almost gray and distinctly scaly above, silvery and scaly below.
Flower: Bell-shaped, 3/8 to 5/8 inch long, very fragrant, lacking petals, silvery or whitish, appearing in spring.
Fruit: Berry-like achene, silvery reddish brown, 1/2 inch long, sweet and edible but quite dry, maturing in late summer.
Twig: Young branches are silvery and scaly, and may bear thorns. Later developing a shiny light brown color; buds are small, silvery-brown and rounded, covered with 4 scales.
Bark: Smooth and gray when young, becoming irregularly ridged and furrowed later.
Form: A shrub or small tree to 40 feet, rounded in outline.
Looks like: silverberry - autumn-olive - buffaloberry - sandbar willow
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Elaeagnus angustifolia is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and may seed into the landscape. See states reporting Russian-olive.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson