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© P. Breen
© P. Breen
© P. Wray

Invaded site

© J.S. Peterson
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Elaeagnus angustifolia

Identity

Common name: Russian olive
Synonyms: E. argentea, E. hortensis, E. inermis, E. caspica, E. spinosa, E. orientalis
Origin: Asia, Southern Europa
Plant type: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Code of conduct: Annex II
Invasive status (ISEIA protocol): Watch list
Main ornemental function: Ornamental shrub

Description

Generally shrubby species, but can reach up to 10 m tall. Tiny yellow flowers. Leaves green coloured above and silvery coloured beneath. Thorns at the tip of branches. Melliferous species attractive for insects. Eatable fruits.

Spread

High dispersal capacities. Plant fruits are readily eaten and disseminated by many species of birds.

Habitat

Mostly found in open dry sandy areas (coastal dunes and extraction/disturbed areas along the river Scheldt). Commonly used as an ornamental, planted in gardens and public green areas (e.g. windbreak and erosion control).

Impact

Species classified B1 in Belgium. In North America, Russian olive invades preferentially beneath the canopy of semi-arid riparian habitats, where it forms self-replacing stands. It is very competitive and can form monospecific populations with high stem densities that displace native vegetation and interfere with natural plant successions. Because it is capable of fixing nitrogen in its roots, it may contribute significant additional nitrogen to the ecosystems that it invades. However, in Belgium as in other West European countries, dense populations of Russian olive are rarely observed in the wild. There are isolated population in Belgium, mostly located in Flanders. For more information, click here

Recommendation

(1) Avoid planting this species near coastal dunes and sandy grasslands, especially in the vicinity of protected areas (natural reserves, Natura 2000 sites, etc.) ; (2) cut the flowers at the end of flowering and before fructification in order to avoid seed dispersal.

Possible native alternative

Main ornemental function

Ornamental shrub

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