Plant DetailShow Menu

Spreading Oleaster Elaeagnus umbellata

Phonetic Spelling
el-ee-AG-nus um-bell-AY-tuh
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Autumn olive is an invasive deciduous shrub or small tree in the Elaeagnaceae (oleaster) family native to Afghanistan and eastern Asia. Elaeagnus means "olive tree" in Greek, and ubellata is Latin for "bearing umbles" in reference to the flower's inflorescence.  Grows quickly to a mature height of 10 to 16 feet and a width of 20 to 30 feet.  

Autumn olive grows in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist well-drained soils.  It becomes quite competitive even in poor soils by fixing nitrogen in its roots.  This plant survives where many other plants would struggle being highly tolerant of drought and erosion but it does not tolerate wet sites.

It has sharp thorns, pale white to yellow heavily fragrant flowers, and vibrant edible red berries.  Inside the fruits contingin thousands of tiny seeds that are dispersed by birds and small mammals.  It threatens native species by out-competing them and interfering with natural nutrient cycling and plant succession.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Japanse beetles feed on the leaves.  As mentioned, the plant is invasive in many areas of the USA especially the central and midwestern regions.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#thorns#deciduous#small tree#invasive#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#weeds#wildlife plant#weedy#deciduous shrub#high maintenance#erosion control#small mammals#fast growing#aggressive#red fruits#edible fruits#fantz#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#thorns#deciduous#small tree#invasive#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#weeds#wildlife plant#weedy#deciduous shrub#high maintenance#erosion control#small mammals#fast growing#aggressive#red fruits#edible fruits#fantz#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Elaeagnus
    Species:
    umbellata
    Family:
    Elaeagnaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Asia, Afghanistan
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are enjoyed by birds and small mammals.
    Edibility:
    The fruit contains high amounts of lycopene are tart and sweet and can be consumed fresh, cooked, or dried.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The unripe berry is silvery yellow. It ripens to red, dotted with silver or brown and is edible. 1/3-1/4 inch long
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy fragrant white tubular flowers are borne in clusters of 1-7 in the leaf axils. Blooms late spring to early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are alternate, dark green (young leaves have silvery scales) with entire but wavy margins. 2-4 inches long and half as wide.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Dark gray bark that is split and furrowed
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Young branches have silvery scales and mature to dark brown
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Erosion
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy