Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifoilia) is a perennial tree or shrub that is native in Europe and Asia. The plant has olive-shaped fruits, silver color at first then becoming yellow-red when mature. Russian olive can reproduce by seed or root suckers. Seeds can remain viable for up to 3 years and are capable of germinating in a broad range of soil types. Spring moisture and slightly alkaline soil tend to favor seedling growth. The plants extensive root system, sprouts root suckers frequently. The stems can reach up to 30 feet in height with branches and trunks that have 1 to 2 inch thorns. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, alternate, narrow, have simple blades, and are untoothed. The lower surface is silvery white with dense scales, while the upper surface of the leaf is light green in color. Flowers are 4 small sepals in light yellow clusters, fragrant, and appear May through June. Russian olive twigs are flexible, reddish, and have surfaces coated with gray and scaly pubescence, becoming smooth.
Russian olive Fact Sheet