North Carolina Wildflowers, Shrubs, & Trees

by Jeffrey S. Pippen | Back to Jeff's Plant Page | Jeff's Nature Pages


Elaeagnaceae > Elaeagnus (silverberry, russian-olive)

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
4/17/2006

This exotic invasive species (native to Asia) has become a serious ecological pest in North Carolina, displacing native vegetation in many forested and forest edge habitats.

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
4/17/2006

With fragrant spring flowers Autumn-olive frequently attract butterflies. Small, olive-like fruits ripen in the fall, hence the common name. Note the tiny silver glands covering the leaves.

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
29 July 2008

Ripening fruits, which will be gobbled up by birds when ripe.

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
29 July 2008

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Durham Co., NC
5 July 2010
Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Durham Co., NC
5 July 2010
Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
29 July 2008

Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Orange Co., NC
29 July 2008

Entire hedge of Autumn-olive "planted" by birds sitting on the phone lines above...


Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Durham Co., NC
2 Mar 2008

Exotic invasive from Japan, this shrub to small tree grows along wooded edges in suburban areas in the eastern half of North Carolina.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
2 Mar 2008

Leaves have a variable amount of rusty spots mixed with silvery scales. Leaves are tough and evergreen, and twigs may be spiny.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
2 Mar 2008

This individual has less rusty "scurfiness", but note the thick covering of silvery scales under the leaves.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
13 Oct 2009

Flowers appear in the fall and have a strong, sweet aroma.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
13 Oct 2009

Even the flower petals have rusty spots.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
13 Oct 2009

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
13 Oct 2009

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
18 Mar 2009

Young fruits ripening in the spring.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
18 Mar 2009

The fruits are somewhat elongate in shape and have lots of rusty dots.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
2 Mar 2008

Commonly found invading woods edges.

Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens) Thorny-Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
Edge of suburban woods in Durham Co., NC
13 Oct 2009

Flowering specimen.


Annotated habitat and distribution information listed above is from Radford, Ahles, & Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. UNC Press; and from personal observations and discussions with Will Cook, Harry LeGrand, and Bob Wilbur. Common names from personal experience and supplemented by the following resources USDA plants website, Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and NatureServe.


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Created on May 7, 2006 | jeffpippen9@gmail.com