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Invasive Plant Species on the Wolf Hill Property
Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus Umbellata) Oleaster family (Elaeagnaceae)
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Deciduous shrub growing to 20’ H.
Alternate leaves are green above, silvery below, creating a shimmering effect on windy days.
Branching pattern often gives specimen a “tilted” appearance.
Fragrant, tubular flowers in spring followed by a red juicy berry appearing sprinkled with silver glitter.
Deciduous shrub or small tree that can grow to 20’ in height
alternate, lance-shaped, entire
dark green above and silver-white scaled below, creating a two toned effect and causing the shrub to “shimmer” on windy days
New growth often dotted with light yellow resin dots
Remnant spur branches look like thorns
small, tubular, extremely fragrant, light yellow flowers are borne along twigs after the leaves appear, early in the growing season
Small, round, juicy fruits are reddish to pink, dotted with silvery scales and produced in great quantity
Autumn olive has nitrogen-fixing root nodules, which allow it to thrive in poor soils.
Typical habitats are
fields in a wide range of soils
It also may invade grasslands, wildlife clearings, timber clearings, and sparse woodlands but does not thrive in densely forested situations.
Autumn olive is easily confused with Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), which does not appear to be invasive in much of the northeast. Russian olive has elliptic to lance-shaped leaves that are silvery on both sides; its branches are usually thorny, and its fruit is yellow, dry and mealy.
It can also be confused with many of the native willows whose leaves are dark green on the upper leaf surface and whitish beneath. However, most of the shrub or tree-like willows (Salix spp.) have toothed leaves or at least some fringing along the leaf margins.
Additionally the reproductive structure of willows is a catkin, quite unlike the tubular flower and red juicy fruit of Autumn olive.