Japanese Silverberry, Umbellata
Oleaster, Autumn Elaeagnus, Spreading Oleaster
Elaeagnaceae - The Oleaster Family
Somewhere between a hefty shrub and a small,
tough, sprawling tree. Look for several gnarled spreading trunks
emanating from a single point. trunks can be up to 6in in
diameter. The bush can sometimes reach 16ft. the branches produce
formidable thorns. As the plant ages, it loses some of it's
Up to 20 feet tall, and 30 feet around.
Elliptical to ovate in shape the leaves are
tough and leathery. They are a dark, dull green on top, and
distinctively silvery underneath. They are borne alternately
on the branches. The leaf margins are often wavy, or curled,
giving the bush a slightly silvery appearance from a
The bark on young
trunks and branches is smooth and graying green. The twigs are
covered with tiny silvery flakes or scales.
Spreading root system. The roots
contain nitrogen fixing nodules which can cause
Mid to late Spring.
Copious amounts of pale yellow flowers
which hang in crowded clusters from the leaf axils. Each
flower is about 1/3 inch long, and has 4 petals joined at
the base to form a tube.
olive shaped, and typically a little
smaller than a pea. The fruits hang green all summer, and
begin to plump up and turn a bright orange red in early
autumn, but remain coated in silvery flakes. Each fruit
produces one seed that is soft shelled and constricted to a
point at each end. The seeds are yellow to tan and they have
prominent lines running their length.
Native to Asia, Elaeagnus umbellata was
introduced to the US in the 1830's. Due to its early leafing, and
late retention of those leaves, it shades out other native
species. Nitrogen fixing root nodules add nitrogen to the soil.
This makes it less desirable for native plants which have evolved
to thrive in our low nitrogen soils.
Native to Asia, it was introduced to the
US in 1830. It has escaped cultivation, and is found in all but
the driest parts of the United States and Canada. Autumn Olive
grown in full sunlight, or light shade. Look for it in old
homesteads, waste areas, overgrown pastures, and along forest
edges. It also produces groves in road medians and at highway
Fruit - Harvested from
September through October, and in some cases into November. I have
found bushes with fruit while deer hunting.
Wild Food Uses:
Eaten fresh, jams,
jellies, pies. The fruit is high in oxidants and vitamin C.
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
High levels of vitamin C will help prevent