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Elaeagnus umbellata

Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.

 

Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRhamnalesBuckthorns, oleasters, grapes, others
FamilyElaeagnaceaeOleaster family, named after
GenusElaeagnusSilverberry or oleaster genus; from the Greek elais, “olive,” and agnos, “the chaste-tree”
SpeciesumbellataFor “umbel,” a flowerhead in which all the florets emerge from a central point, forming a rounded or umbrella-like shape

About plant names...

Autumn olive is a native of China and Japan. It is a good news/bad news plant. It was brought to North America in 1830, and planted widely for wildlife habitat, shelter belts, and mine reclamation. It spread rapidly and has become an invasive. Despite its bad rap as an invasive, it has interesting nutritional and health-related merits, described below.

Identification: A large, fast-growing woody shrub or multiply branched tree, up to 20' (6.1 m) high. Leaves are medium green on top and silvery underneath, with small dots on the underside. Branches have a few thorns. Produces small fragrant yellow flowers. This plant produces enormous numbers of red berries, each about ¼-⅜" (6.3-9.5 mm) in diameter. The berries are speckled with brown or silvery spots, and the bottom of each berry is indented. It is found in open sunny woodlands and disturbed areas.

Edibility: Fully ripe berries are tart at first, becoming sweeter, reminiscent of currants, cranberries, and peaches. The berries can be made into jams, jellies, fruit leather, or sauces.

Medical: Autumn olive berries contain large amounts of lycopene, 17 times as much as are in tomatoes, our major dietary source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant which has

... generated widespread interest as a possible deterrent to heart disease and cancers of the prostate, cervix and gastrointestinal tract.[1]

The berries also contain β-cryptoxanthin, another antioxidant which is converted to vitamin A in the body, and appears to suppress the likelihood of developing lung cancer.[2]

Online References:

Elaeagnus umbellata on Missouriplants.com

Elaeagnus umbellata on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Elaeagnus umbellata at Illinois Wildflowers

Elaeagnus umbellata on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Elaeagnus umbellata at the Southest Exotic Pest Plant Council

Elaeagnus umbellata on Discover Life

Elaeagnus umbellata on Plants for a Future

Elaeagnus umbellata at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Elaeagnus umbellata at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Elaeagnus umbellata on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Elaeagnus umbellata on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Elaeagnus umbellata on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Elaeagnus umbellata at Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plants Products

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/7/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/5/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 3 × 2½" (8.3 × 6.8 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/11/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/11/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.2 × 6.9 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/13/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 3" (9.4 × 7.9 cm)

1See this article about autumn olive

2See Wikipedia article on Cryptoxanthin

Elaeagnus umbellata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 19 Jun 2014.

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Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

8/7/2012 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/23/2017 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/30/2014 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/3/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/3/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

5/11/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 2" (6.9 × 5.3 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

9/3/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 14 cm)

Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive, Japanese Silverberry)

8/7/2012 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, MA
≈ 4½ × 3½" (12 × 9.2 cm)

Range:

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