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Russian Olive (Eleaganus angustifolia)

Submitted by November 11, 2014 11:00 am

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Acc ording to the National Park Service:
Russian-olive is a small, usually thorny shrub or small tree that can grow to 30
feet in height. Its stems, buds, and leaves have a dense covering of silvery to
rusty scales. Leaves are egg or lance-shaped, smooth margined, and alternate
along the stem. At three years of age, plants begin to flower and fruit. Highly
aromatic, creamy yellow flowers appear in June and July and are later
replaced by clusters of abundant silvery fruits.
Russian-olive can outcompete native vegetation, interfere with natural plant
succession and nutrient cycling, and tax water reserves. Because Russianolive
is capable of fixing nitrogen in its roots, it can grow on bare, mineral
substrates and dominate riparian vegetation where overstory cottonwoods
have died. Although Russian-olive provides a plentiful source of edible fruits for
birds, ecologists have found that bird species richness is actually higher in
riparian areas dominated by native vegetation.