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Common Name:

Russian Olive or Oleaster

Scientific Name:

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Family Name:



Russian Olive is a small tree with silver-gray willow-like leaves. The irregularly rounded canopy is supported by several main branches arrising from a short stout trunk covered in kark gray to black bark. This plant is used as a silver-foliage accent in cold dry climates and was once extensively planted in shelterbelts. It has since become widely naturalized and is considered very weedy under favorable circumstances.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree



Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Reminiscent of small yellowish white styrofoam balls taking on a reddish cast in fall


15 ft to 20 ft (25 ft)


15 ft to 20 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

This is a very durable tree in cool climates, but it is not as vigorous in USDA zone 8.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.