Invasive Species -


Autumn Olive
(Elaeagnus umbellata )


Photos & Description courtesy of IPANE

Where it's from:

China, Korea, Japan


What Autumn Olive does to the habitat

The roots change the nitrogen content of the soil. Forming an association with bacteria they fix nitrogen in the soil. That in turn changes the composition of the plant community.


The shrubs outcompete and crowd out native plants. While they do provide some cover for animals, overall they reduce the diversity of cover.



When the soil is moist, seedlings can be pulled. Grown plants can be cut but will keep coming back unless you apply something like Round Up (Glyphosate). Best time for the treatment in late summer.


Common Name

Full Scientific Name

Autumn olive Elaeagnus umbellata

Family Name Common

Family Scientific Name

Oleaster family Elaeagnus umbellata



Botanical Glossary

Elaeagnus umbellata is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 3.7 m (12 ft.) or more tall. Its untoothed leaves are alternate and range from being oval to somewhat lanceolate. The leaves are 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 in.) long and are green and glabrescent on the top surface. The undersides of the leaves have silver/white scales. The younger branches have a silver color and are scaly. The silver color becomes a darker brown with maturity. Sometimes the young branches bear thorns. Flowers appear on Elaeagnus umbellata between April and May (after the appearance of the leaves) and are located along the stems in clusters of 1-3 or more together. These fragrant flowers are creamy in color and have a slender perianth tube. The drupe-like fruits are round, juicy, range in color from red to pink (occasionally orange) and have scales on their surface. The size of the fruits is approximately 0.6 cm (0.25 in.). Page References Bailey 718, Fernald 1045, Gleason & Cronquist 307, Holmgren 288, Magee & Ahles 757.

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