Invasive Species -


Russian Olive

(Elaeagnus angustifolia L.)

Photos & Description courtesy of IPANE

Where it's from:

Where it is from: China, Korea, Japan


What Russian 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

Russian olive
Elaeagnus angustifolia L.

Family Name Common

Family Scientific Name

Oleaster family Elaeagnus angustifolia



Botanical Glossary

Elaeagnus angustifolia is a shrub or small tree that can grow to 10 m (35 ft.) tall. The young branches are silvery while the older branches are brown. They are occasionally thorny and covered with scales. The leaves are simple, alternate and lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate. They are 3-10 cm (1-4 in.) long and have silver scales on both sides. The fragrant flowers are 1.2-1.5 cm (0.5 in.) wide, silvery outside and yellow within. There are 1-3 flowers within the leaf axils. They appear in May to June. The fruit are 1 cm (0.4 in.) long, are yellow and almost completely covered by densely silver scales. The fruit contain one large seed that can be up to 1 cm (0.4 in.) long within. Page References Bailey 717, Fernald 1045, Gleason & Cronquist 307, Holmgren 288, Magee & Ahles 757.

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