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Russian Olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia


Description:  Introduced shrub or small tree often with crooked or leaning trunk, dense crown of low branches, silvery foliage, and sometimes spiny twigs.  Dull gray-green, lance-shaped leaves without teeth.  Small bell-shaped flowers, yellow on inside.

Ecological Threat:  Out competes native vegetation, interfering with natural plant succession and nutrient cycling, and taxing water reserves. Capable of fixing nitrogen in roots, it can grow on bare, mineral substrates and dominate riparian vegetation where overstory cottonwoods have died.

Biology & Spread:  Establishment and reproduction is primarily by seed. The fruit is a small cherry-like drupe that is readily eaten and dispersed by birds.

Threat in Oklahoma:  Of biggest concern in western Oklahoma where it was utilized in shelterbelts.

Management: Problem Horticultural Plants

Image Credit:  Paul Wray, Iowa State University,



Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States

Texas Invasives

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants


Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

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