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Autumn Olive
Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.

International Code - ELUM
FIA survey code - 2038


Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p.

acrobat version

Plant. Tardily deciduous bushy leafy shrub, 3 to 20 feet (1 to 6 m) in height, with scattered thorny branches. Leaves silvery scaly beneath, with many red berries in fall.

Stem. Twigs slender and silver scaly, spur twigs common, with some lateral twigs becoming pointed like thorns. Branches and main stems glossy olive drab with scattered thorns and many whitish dots (lenticels), becoming light gray to gray brown with age and eventually fissuring to expose light-brown inner bark.

Leaves. Alternate, elliptic 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) long and 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 cm) wide. Margins entire and wavy. Bright green to gray green above with silver scaly midvein and densely silver scaly beneath. Petioles short and silvery.

Flowers. February to June. Axillary clusters, each with 5 to 10 tubular flowers with 4 lobes. Silvery white to yellow. Fragrant.

Fruit and seeds. August to November. Round, juicy drupe 0.3 to 0.4 inch (7 to 10 mm) containing one nutlet. Red and finely doted with silvery to silvery-brown scales.

Ecology. Prefers drier sites. Shade tolerant. Spreads by animal-dispersed seeds and found as scattered plants in forest openings and open forests, eventually forming dense stands. A nonleguminous nitrogen fixer.

Resembles silverthorn or thorny olive, E. pungens Thunb., and Russian olive, E. angustifolia L. Silverthorn is an evergreen that has brown scaly and hairy twigs, flowers in late fall, and few reddish-silver scaly drupes in spring. Russian olive has silver scaly twigs and leaves, flowers in early summer, and many yellow olives in fall and winter. Also resembles minniebush, Menziesia pilosa (Michx. ex Lam.) Juss. ex Pers., a Southern Appalachian native at high elevations, which is distinguished by glands, not scales, on the midvein and leaves with finely serrate margins.

History and use. Introduced from China and Japan in 1830. Widely planted for wildlife habitat, strip mine reclamation, and shelterbelts.


December
Photo by J. Gibson


May
Photo by J. Miller


April
Photo by J. Miller


December
Photo by J. Miller


October
Photo by J. Gibson

April
Photo by J. Miller


April
Photo by J. Miller


December
Photo by J. Miller


States with suspected infestations are shown in gray.


Recommended control procedures:

  • Thoroughly wet all leaves with Arsenal AC* or Vanquish* as a 1-percent solution in water (4 ounces per 3-gallon mix) with a surfactant (April to October).
  • For stems too tall for foliar sprays, apply Garlon 4 as a 20-percent solu- tion in commercially available basal oil, diesel fuel, or kerosene (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix) with a penetrant (check with herbicide distributor) to young bark as a basal spray (January to February or May to October). Or, cut large stems and immediately treat the stumps with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant: Arsenal AC* as a 10-percent solution (1 quart per 3-gallon mix) or a glyphosate herbicide as a 20-percent solution (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix).

*   Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.


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The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.
The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 at 01:37 PM
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