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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Russian Olive - Elaeagnus angustifolia

Regulated Weed: Priority 3
Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 0

External Links

General Description
Large shrub or small tree to 8 m. Stems thorny; twigs silvery-mealy becoming orange-brown. Leaf blades narrowly lanceolate, 3–10 cm long, white-mealy, silvery beneath, less so above. Flowers: hypanthium tubular, 5–6 mm long, silvery; sepals deltoid, 2–4 mm long, yellow within. Fruit ovoid, 8–15 mm long, becoming green (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Introduced to north-temperate North America as a windbreak or ornamental; native to Eurasia (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1998

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Woodlands, thickets, riparian forests, moist meadows around wetlands, somewhat tolerant of saline soil; plains, valleys (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).


  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • McGregor, R.L., coordinator, and T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield, eds.: Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Katz, G. L., and P. B. Shafroth. 2003. Biology, ecology and management of Elaeagnus angustifolia L. (Russian olive) in western North America. Wetlands 23:763-777.
    • Lesica, P. 2001. Natural history and invasion of Russian olive along eastern Montana rivers. Western North American Naturalist 61:1-10.
    • Lesica, P. and S. Miles. 1999. Russian olive invasion into cottonwood forests along a regulated river in north-central Montana. Canadian Journal of Botany, 77:1077-1083.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
    • Shafroth. R B.. G. T. Auble. and M. L. Scott. 1995. Germination and establishment of the native plains Cottonwood (Populits deltoides Marshall subsp. monilifera) and the exotic Russian-olive {Elaeagnvs angustifolia L.). Conservation Biology 9: 1169-1175.
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Citation for data on this website:
Russian Olive — Elaeagnus angustifolia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from