Thorny Olive

Elaeagnus pungens

Thorny Olive and Autumn Olive are evergreen shrubs (20′ – 30’ tall) native to China and Japan. These species were introduced into the U.S. as ornamentals in the 1800s. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service recommended planting both species, until recently, for windbreaks and to benefit wildlife. These species occur as scattered populations in Louisiana and are still used in landscaping, primarily as hedges or screens for privacy and along highways.

They are classified by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as a Tier II invasive species defined as “currently causing moderately negative impacts on wildlife or natural communities in Louisiana”. Their fruits are used by birds and mammals, which readily disperse their seeds. They are drought, shade, and salt tolerant and capable of invading sites that are in full sun to deep shade.

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