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Elaeagnus commutata USDA.jpg
Elaeagnus commutata
Scientific classification

See text

Elaeagnus distribution.svg
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Elaeagnus commutata USDA.jpg
Elaeagnus commutata
Scientific classification

See text

Elaeagnus distribution.svg

Elaeagnus /ˌɛlˈæɡnəs/,[1] silverberry or oleaster, is a genus of about 50–70 species of flowering plants in the family Elaeagnaceae.


The vast majority of the species are native to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia. Elaeagnus triflora extends from Asia south into northeastern Australia, while E. commutata is native to North America, and Elaeagnus philippinensis is native to the Philippines. One of the Asian species, E. angustifolia, may also be native in southeasternmost Europe, though it may instead be an early human introduction there. Also, several Asiatic species of Elaeagnus have become established as introduced species in North America, with some of these species being considered invasive, or even designated as noxious, in portions of the United States.[2][3]


Elaeagnus plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees. The alternate leaves and the shoots are usually covered with tiny silvery to brownish scales, giving the plants a whitish to grey-brown colour from a distance. The flowers are small, with a four-lobed calyx and no petals; they are often fragrant. The fruit is a fleshy drupe containing a single seed; it is edible in many species. Several species are cultivated for their fruit, including E. angustifolia, E. umbellata and E. multiflora (gumi).


Elaeagnus species are widely cultivated for their showy, often variegated, foliage, and numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed.[4]

E. angustifolia cultivated as bonsai

Notable species and hybrids in cultivation include:-

The cultivar 'Gilt Edge'[5] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Other uses[edit]

E. umbellata is reputed to have a high amount of the carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene[6] and has been shown to display antioxidant properties effective against cancer mechanisms in vitro.[7] E. multiflora is among the nutraceutical plants that Chinese use both for food and medicine.[citation needed] Both of these species have small but abundant tasty berries.

Berries from a large-fruited cultivar


Elaeagnus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora elaeagnisella and the gothic moths. The thorny shrubs can also provide good nesting sites for birds.

Nitrogen fixation[edit]

Many Elaeagnus species harbor nitrogen fixing organisms in their roots, and are therefore able to grow well in low-nitrogen soil. This ability results in multiple ecological consequences where these Elaeagnus species are present:

Selected species[edit]

  • Elaeagnus angustata (Rehd.) C. Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus angustifolia L. (Oleaster, Russian silverberry or Russian-olive; western Asia).
  • Elaeagnus argyi Levl. (China)
  • Elaeagnus bambusetorum Hand.-Mazz. (China)
  • Elaeagnus bockii Diels (China)
  • Elaeagnus cinnamomifolia W. K. Hu et H. F. Chow (China)
  • Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. (American silverberry or wolf-willow; North America).
  • Elaeagnus conferta Roxb. (1820) (southern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus courtoisi Belval (China)
  • Elaeagnus davidii Franch. (China)
  • Elaeagnus delavayi Lecomte (China)
  • Elaeagnus difficilis Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus formosana Nakai (Taiwan)
  • Elaeagnus glabra Thunb. (eastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus gonyanthes Benth. (China)
  • Elaeagnus griffithii Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus grijsii Hance (China)
  • Elaeagnus guizhouensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus henryi Warb. (China)
  • Elaeagnus jiangxiensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus jingdonensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus kanaii Momily. (China)
  • Elaeagnus lanceolata Warb. (China)
  • Elaeagnus lanpingensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus latifolia L. (southern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus liuzhouensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus longiloba C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus loureirii Champ. (southern China)
  • Elaeagnus luoxiangensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus luxiensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus macrantha Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus macrophylla Thunb. (eastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus magna Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus micrantha C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus mollis Diels (China)
  • Elaeagnus morrisonensis Hayata (Taiwan)
  • Elaeagnus multiflora Thunb. (Cherry silverberry or Gumi; eastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus nanchuanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus obovata Li (China)
  • Elaeagnus obtusa C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus oldhami Maxim. (China)
  • Elaeagnus ovata Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus oxycarpa Schltdl. (China)
  • Elaeagnus pallidiflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus parvifolia Wallich ex Royle (central Asia)
  • Elaeagnus pauciflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus philippinensis Perrott. ([Philippines)
  • Elaeagnus pilostyla C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus pingnanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. (Silverthorn; Japan)
  • Elaeagnus pyriformis Hook.f. (eastern Himalaya).
  • Elaeagnus retrostyla C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus sarmentosa Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus schlechtendalii Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus stellipila Rehd. (China)
  • Elaeagnus taliensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus thunbergii Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus tonkinensis Serv. (southeastern Asia)
  • Elaeagnus triflora Roxb. (southeastern Asia, northeast Australia).
  • Elaeagnus tubiflora C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus tutcheri Dunn (southern China).
  • Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb. (Japanese silverberry or autumn-olive; eastern Asia).
  • Elaeagnus viridis Serv. (China)
  • Elaeagnus wenshanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus wilsonii Li (China)
  • Elaeagnus wushanensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus xichouensis C.Y. Chang (China)
  • Elaeagnus xizangensis C.Y. Chang (China)

Standard for Human Consumption[edit]


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. pp. 606–7. ISBN 978-0-376-03850-0. 
  2. ^ http://www.bonap.org/BONAPmaps2010/Elaeagnus.html
  3. ^ a b "Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Lists". Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ "Eleagnus × ebbengei 'Gilt Edge'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Fordham, Ingrid M.; Clevidence, Beverly A; Wiley, Eugene R.; Zimmerman, Richard H. (2001). "Fruit of autumn olive : A rich source of lycopene". HortScience 36 (6): 1136–7. ISSN 0018-5345. 
  7. ^ Wang, Shiow; Bowman, Linda; Ding, Min (2007). "Variations in Free Radical Scavenging Capacity and Antiproliferative Activity Among Different Genotypes of Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)". Planta Medica 73 (5): 468–77. doi:10.1055/s-2007-967175. PMID 17566149. 
  8. ^ https://www.esma.ae/e-store/Default/StdDetails.aspx?std=3863

External links[edit]