Thorny Olive

Elaeagnus pungens


Other Names:
Spiny Oleaster, Silverthorn, Russian Olive

The Thorny Olive is a non-native evergreen shrub from Asia (mostly China and Japan). It was introduced as an ornamental plant in the 1800s and is considered to be invasive. A Thorny Olive bush in Monticello Park is past midstream at a bend in the east path, and Blue Jays have nested in it. Because it can survive in harsh conditions, it has been planted along some highway medians in the southeastern United States. In 1981, close to 300 Cedar Waxwings were killed by cars in Texas when they tried to eat fruit from Thorny Olives growing along a highway.

Identification Tools

Go Botany Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States


North America Virginia

Thorny Olive leaves
Thorny Olive leaves

Thorny Olive shrub
A Thorny Olive shrub along the path on the south side of the stream

Thorny Olive branches
Thorny Olive branches, displaying thorns

Thorny Olive leaves
Thorny Olive leaves are pale on the underside.

Thorny Olive leaves
Thorny Olive leaves are sometimes pale when they are newly emerged.

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