Ed Golson Outdoor Education

autumn olive

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus umbellate

Description: Autumn olive is an invasive deciduous shrub or small tree. It can grow up to 20 feet tall. The leaves on this shrub are small, oval and dark green. The underside of its leaves have silvery scales. In late spring this plant has small light-yellow flowers and small fruits that are red or pink in color with silver or brown scales. Each plant can produce up to 8 pounds of these small fruits every year.  

Autumn olive is highly adaptable and can grow in very poor soils. It is often found in fields, grasslands, and open woodlands. 

What's the Problem? : This plant is not native; it was originally found in China and Japan. It was introduced here sometime in the early-to-mid 1800's.

Autumn olive grows very quickly and easily out-competes many native plants. It also produces many more seeds than most native plants which allow it to spread quicker to new areas. It is also hard to get rid of once it starts growing. If it gets mowed or cut down, the roots that are still in the ground will sprout many new shoots, often making the problem worse than before.

Back to Previous Page