Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Russian Olive vs. Autumn Olive: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I am no expert here, but yes there is a difference between the two . They are both from the Oleaster Family and both are listed as invasive. Russian Olive's scientific name is Elaeagnus angustifolia and the Autumn Olive's is Elaeagnus umbellata. Here in New England, at least, it is the Autumn Olive that is our invasive nemesis.
Perhaps the best way to tell them apart is that Russian Olive has stiff thorns, and the silvery scales that adorn only the bottom side of an Autumn Olive leaf, are on both sides of a Russian Olive leaf. And this time of year, one would see on the Russian Olive a more yellow to orange colored fruit, instead of the bright red of the Autumn Olive.

While I am no fan of this invasive, I must say that I have grown to love the fragrance of their flowers in the air in late May. The first whiff just stops me in my tracks. And their high density of the antioxident, lycopene, has SOME looking to make a cash crop out of the pest. Check this out.


Barry said...

Excellent post! Thanks so much for the info. Perhaps I should see if they are producing berries on the conservation land near me. Thanks for the info.

On a side note....
I have an Excalibur dehydrator and would love to try making fruit leather.

arthur harvey@yahoo.com said...

Autumn olive comes up in the middle of my commercial wild blueberry field. Hard to eliminate, so if you can't lick em, join em. I think they have commercial potential as an ingredient in blueberry processed products. We also use highbush cranberry that way. But the cranberry seeds are thought to be obnoxious, especially after cooking, so I need to separate the pulp from the seeds prior to cooking. I do that with a Robot Coupe pulper-juicer.

My question is--do the seeds of autumn olive pose a similar problem ?

Dan Plesse said...

your ". Check this out." link is broken.

Autumn Olive Production for 2013

Autumn Olive Production Beer, wine vodka.

Anonymous said...

Still a little perplexed. Mine has thorns but they're hard to find. Leaves green on top, silvery green on bottom, but I don't particularly find any "scales". It's been here ten years and never yields ANY fruit, but perhaps that's because the soil is so sandy and lean. Fragrant? Hell yes, especially starting late April.

Anonymous said...

I think the "scales" are very tiny; you don't see them as scales, just get the impression of silvery white color