Elaeagnus angustifolia, Russian Silverberry, Oleaster, Russian Olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Russian Silverberry, Oleaster, Russian Olive
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Origin: Central Asia
USDA Zone: 3-8?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunModerate waterYellow, orange flowersEdible plantPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirdsFragrant plantSubtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

This large evergreen shrub is quite distinctive with its 5-10 feet tall and can even be grown as a small tree of 10-20 ft. It's native to Central Asia and has been widely grown in many areas.

Elaeagnus angustifolia needs full sun to stay healthy. It requires moderate water to thrive and will tolerate a range of soil conditions. This plant produces mildly fragrant yellow and orange flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, followed by edible fruit in the fall and winter. The evergreen leaves are silver, which makes this shrub a highly prized ornamental plant.


The edible fruit produced by Elaeagnus angustifolia are yellow-red, sweet and acidic, and very popular among gardeners. The fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried, and can be used to make jams, jellies, wines, and syrups. The leaves and twigs can also be dried and used as herbal teas or treatments for minor pain. The fruit is filled with nourishing and medicinal properties, such as high amounts of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and fatty acids, which are great for boosting digestion and gut health.

This plant can produce an abundance of fruit if given adequate water, but the amounts will vary based on the climate and the age of the plant. On average, one mature shrub will produce between 5-10 lbs of fruit, which is more than enough to feed a family.

In order to provide optimal growth, Elaeagnus angustifolia needs ample sunlight and moderate amounts of water. Potted plants in cooler regions should also be kept in a sheltered, sunny spot and can benefit from winter mulches or an indoor greenhouse or terrarium setup for protection from cold temperatures.

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