Silverberry - Eleagnus multiflora
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The Elaeagnus species described herein are small trees to many branched
shrubs. Young branches are often covered with a silvery gray or golden-brown
hairy pubescence but with age develop a scaly gray-brown bark. In some
species the branches are armed with spines. The ovate to lanceolate leaves
are alternate, petioled, and densely covered with a silvery, scaly or
stellate pubescence. The fragrant flowers are solitary or in small clusters
of one to three on twigs of the current year. The perfect flowers lack
petals but have 4 spreading sepals that are yellowish on the interior
surface and white to silvery on the outside, 4 stamens and a single pistil.
The fruit is a mealy drupelike achene, round to ovoid, densely covered
with a silvery gray pubescence.
Many Elaeagnus spp. are capable of nitrogen fixation and have been recommended
for companion planting because of this characteristic. Plants are capable
of flowering and producing fruit after reaching only three years of age.
The yellowish fragrant flowers appear in June and July and are later replaced
by abundant silvery fruit. Bird species are probably the primary vector
for dispersal although raccoons, skunks, and opossums also feed on the
fruit. Some vegetative propagation has been reported. Once established,
Elaeagnus spp. are highly invasive and difficult to control. They are
found in disturbed areas, successional fields, pastures, roadsides, and
shelter belts where they have been widely planted. They also have escaped
to invade prairies, open woodlands, and forest edges.
The fast growing persistent habit allows Elaeagnus spp. to outcompete
native plants, interfere with natural plant succession and nutrient cycling,
and reduce water reserves in the soil. The species are drought tolerant
and their nitrogen fixing ability allows them to grow in a wide range
of soils. Plants can resprout vigorously following cutting or burning.
Links to more information
Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers