Thorny Olive (Elaeagnus pungens)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Thorny Olive
Give a thumbs up Silverthorn
Give a thumbs up Thorny Elaeagnus
Give a thumbs up Pungent Elaeagnus
Give a thumbs up Elaeagnus

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 7a -17.8 °C (0 °F) to -15 °C (5 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 12 to 15 feet
Plant Spread: 15 to 18 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: 1/2 inch round, red drupes with silver scales; each containing a single seed.
Fruiting Time: Spring
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Other: Pale yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Fall
Late fall or early winter
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth


Photo gallery:
Location: Savannah, Georgia (my garden)Date: 2018 Feb 27
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia (my garden)Date: 2019 Feb 27
By greene
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Location: Savannah, Georgia (my garden)Date: 2018 Feb 27New leaf growth
By greene
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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 10, 2020 5:18 PM

This large shrub is from China and Japan. It is fast growing and, like Japanese Multiflora Rose, it sends long thorny branches from the top of the shrub in a vine-like way to hook around trees to grow higher. It has escaped cultivation in areas of the South USA and is invasive there, often forming colonies. It becomes a big messy shrub and should not have been brought over to the USA. It is similar to the much more common Autumn-Olive (E. umbellata) from East Asia that is invasive in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast USA. This Thorny-Olive bears its small, fragrant, creamy flowers in October-November and bears its red-brown fruits in March into May. It is not in the real Olive Family.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Plant help! by Bumblelena Sep 27, 2018 12:08 AM 6
ID this plant please by Kevalsha May 29, 2018 6:03 PM 6
Shrub ID help. by HamiltonSquare Feb 10, 2018 8:56 PM 4
Anyone recognize this shrub? by plantladylin Aug 18, 2016 9:33 AM 8
Daily gardening thread for everyone by keithp2012 Feb 25, 2020 1:04 PM 19,014
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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