Elaeagnus angustifolia

Russian Olive or Oleaster

A really tough, deciduous shrub or small tree, with a rounded, half-open crown, Elaeagnus angustifolia often grows as a thorny, multi-stemmed shrub and is a rapid grower and very long-lived.  It has lanceolate, silvery, fragrant leaves. The small, honey-scented, silvery-white flowers appear in May and June, and are a good pollen-source for bees.  These are followed by silvery-orange, olive-like fruits (tannic but edible, and rich in vitamins and flavinoids, and is known to be used for herbal treatment of nausea and diarrhoea, and in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis). Russian olive or oleaster favours dry soils and high salinity. Oleaster will readily tolerate pruning, even to the ground, and a specimen is good with a rambler rose or clematis growing through it. It can also be grown as a thorny hedge (spaced to 35cm-75cm) deterring animal and human intruders. It sets nitrogen from the air, making it a valuable companion plant. Give it a potassium feed in late summer to encourage the twigs to ripen.

Site: Tolerates exposure, including coastal
Soil: Any dry, stony but well-drained soil; will also tolerate clay and loam
Position: Full sun
Season of interest: Summer and autumn in particular
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height:  10’ (3m) Spread: 6’6” (2m) in 10 years

Size: Bareroot | 2-3ft
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