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  • Tree grows 3 to 10 or more meters tall

  • Introduced from Russia and Asia as an ornamental species


Russian olive
(Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Quick Identification

  • Fuzzy, silver-green foliage 

  • Small, green olive fruits

  • Thorny branches

  • Sweet smelling yellow flowers

Reduces water and nutrient resources for other plants.  Invades riparian ecosystems, outcompeting native species and altering water flow.

Being able to resprout from stumps and roots makes this species difficult to manage effectively with manual removal methods.  Effective herbicides are available.

Four petaled yellow flowers bloom from June to July. Each appears at the join of a the stem and a leaf. Flowers have a strong, sweet fragrance.

Leaves & Stems
Leaves are long, narrow, silver-green in colour, and fuzzy.  They alternate on the stems. New branches are similar in texture and colour to the leaves while mature branches are a dark reddish-brown and can have thorns up to 5 cm in length.  


A deep root system with nitrogen fixing bacteria allow Russian olive to grow in unfavorable conditions.

Reproduction & Dispersal
Reproduces by seed and root suckers.  Seeds are dispersed by birds and other wildlife.  Russian olive is still sold by nurseries.  


Seeds are contained in an olive fruit.  The fruits are initially green but become a rusty brown towards maturity.

Preferred Habitat
Plants can grow in riparian areas, wetlands, and drainage ditches.  Consumes a great deal of water.

Interesting Facts
Has been used for its medical properties.

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