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Elaeagnus angustifolia (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Elaeagnus angustifolia (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Zones A2, A3, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 7-14, 18, 19, 33, 35, 41, 43, 45
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Elaeagnus angustifolia

Russian Olive
Elaeagnaceae
Deciduous, Trees

Native from Europe to Asia. Grows to 20 ft. high and wide, but can be clipped to make a medium-height hedge. Angular trunk and branches (sometimes thorny) are covered with shredding dark brown bark that is picturesque in winter. Bark contrasts with narrow, willow-like, 2-in.-long, silvery gray leaves. Small, very fragrant, greenish yellow flowers in early summer are followed by fruit that resembles miniature olives. Can take almost any kind of punishment, including hot summers, bitterly cold winters, drought, poor soil.

Has naturalized in many areas east of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. Doesn’t do as well in mild-winter, cool-summer climates. Good background or barrier plant. Resistant to oak root fungus.

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