It is a usually thorny shrub or small tree growing to 5-7 m in height. Its stems, buds, and leaves have a dense covering of silvery to rusty scales. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, 4-9 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The highly aromatic flowers are produced in clusters of 1-3 together, 1 cm long with a four-lobed creamy yellow corolla; they appear in early summer and are later replaced by clusters of fruit, a small cherry-like drupe 1-1.5 cm long, orange-brown covered in silvery scales. The fruit is edible and sweet, though with a dryish mealy texture.
Like all Elaeagnus species, it can fix nitrogen in its roots, enabling it to grow on bare, mineral substrates.
First cultivated in Germany in 1736, it is now widely grown across southern and central Europe as an ornamental plant: for its scented flowers, edible fruit, and attractive silver foliage and black bark. It was introduced into North America in the late 1800s, and subsequently naturalized into the wild. Some people consider Russian olive to be an invasive species. It often grows in riparian vegetation where overstory cottonwoods have died. It provides a plentiful source of edible fruit for birds (and is marketed in many areas as a wildlife attracting plant).
Assessment of the genetic diversity of Frankia microsymbionts of Elaeagnus angustifolia L. plants growing in a Tunisian date-palm oasis by analysis of PCR amplified nifD-K intergenic spacer.(NOTE)
Mar 01, 2007; Abstract: Diversity of Frankia microsymbionts of non-native Elaeagnus angustifolia L. plants spontaneously growing in a Tunisian...
New Health and Medicine Study Findings Have Been Reported by Researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Dec 21, 2012; By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Health & Medicine Week -- Research findings on Health and Medicine are discussed in a new...