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Thorny Olive

Elaeagnus pungens


Thorny olive is a dense evergreen shrub that invades natural areas throughout the southeastern United States. The shrub is often multi-stemmed and short. Sharp shoots give it a thorny appearance. Thorny olive closely resembles two other exotic olives, autumn olive and Russian olive. Shrubs can grow 3.3-26.3 ft. (1-8 m) tall. Shrubs are usually very dense with long shoots extending from the top. The leaves are alternate, oval to elliptical, with irregular wavy margins and silvery surfaces, 2-4 in. (5.1-10.2 cm) in length and thick. The axillary clusters of small, sweet-smelling, white to brown flowers develop in the fall. Plants rarely fruit, but fruit are small, red and dotted with small brown scales. The seeds are dispersed by animals, giving this plant the potential for rapid spread. Thorny olive is native to eastern Asia and was first introduced into the United States in 1830 as an ornamental.


A high shade tolerance allows thorny olive to invade both in open areas and under forest canopies.


Spotted near Gilbert Rd / Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield

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KenCheeks 7 years ago

What a great Mission! Thanks for the invite. I added my pic of the Chinese Tallow Tree and have a few other invasive spottings to add.

QWMom 7 years ago

I don't think they are poisonous - probably not very tasty though! :)

Seema 7 years ago

I call it t edible?
I tasted a could be eaten..i felt..

Spotted by

Georgia, USA

Spotted on Feb 21, 2013
Submitted on Feb 22, 2013

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