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Common Name:

Thorny Elaeagnus

Scientific Name:

Elaeagnus pungens

Family Name:



Elaeagnus pungens is a medium to large coarse textured evergreen shrub. Thorny Elaeagnus is valued for its two-tone dark green above and silver-white beneath foliage, extremely fragrant fall flowers, and wide site adaptability. Thorny Elaeagnus can be used as a screening hedge, shrub border, erosion control plant, and with vigilant pruning as a formal hedge on problem soil sites.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Inconspicuous creamy white or silver, fragrance is main feature

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Drupes, elliptic, red-bronze covered with brown russeting, sometimes noticeable in winter


8 ft to 15 ft


8 ft to 15 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

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9

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 Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Very soil adaptable, tolerates searing heat and cold to USDA zone 6b, can handle salty irrigation water. Elaeagnus pungens can tolerate soggy soils for short periods, but will develop chlorosis problems if soils remain poorly drained.
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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.