Taxonomic name: Elaeagnus pungens Thunb.
Synonyms: Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. forma aurea (Servett.) Rehder, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. forma masculata Veitch, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. subsp. eupungens , Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. simonii (Carrière) G. Nicholson, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. typica C.K. Schneid., Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. variegata Rheder, Elaeagnus reflexa E. Morren & Decne. , Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. aureovariegata Bean, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. frederici Bean, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. var. reflexa (E. Morren & Decne.) Rehder, Elaeagnus pungens Thunb. subsp. simonii (Carrière) Servett., Elaeagnus simonii Carrière
Common names: leathery silver-bush, nawashiro-gumi (Japanese), pungent elaeagnus, silverthorn, spotted elaeagnus, thorny elaeagnus, thorny olive
Organism type: shrub
Originally from eastern Asia, Elaeagnus pungens has found its way to the United States, New Zealand and Europe. It is a plant that may out-compete other plants for sunlight because of its outward growth (it can grow as tall as 8 m). Its ability to grow in most soils makes it easy to move into natural areas and take over the native vegetation. This particular species can be controlled with the herbicides.
Elaeagnus pungens is an evergreen shrub that can grow 1-8 m. There are multiple dense stems with short shoots and small leaves that become branched or unbranched thorns 1-4cm long. In the second year, lateral branches are produced and are followed by flowers in the fall. The lateral branches, in the summer, ascend into surrounding trees and have dark bark and thorns. Twigs have brown scales, but when young are hairy (Miller, 2003). The leaves are thick, silver-brown, alternate, oval, and scaly underneath. Leaves can reach lengths from 1-10cm and .5-5cm width. There are irregular wavy margins. Spring blade surface is silver-scaly eventually turning dark green with dense silver-scaly and brown scales scattered. Petioles are 4-5mm long (Miller, 2003). There are axillary clusters of flowers (1-3 flowers; 1cm long). Silvery-white to brown. Tubular, four lobes and fragrant (Miller, 2003). Fruits are oblong and 1-1.5cm. Contains one nutlet. They ripe from white to red with dotted brown scales (Miller, 2003).
Elaeagnus angustifolia, Elaeagnus umbellata
natural forests, scrub/shrublands
Elaeagnus pungens is drought tolerant (Stamps, 2001) and can grow in most soils (BSA, 2002).
Elaeagnus pungens moves into natural areas and takes over native vegetation (BSA, 2002).
Elaeagnus pungens is often planted in highway medians. It is also used for ornamental purposes (Richmond, undated).
Native range: China, Japan (GRIN, 2007).
Known introduced range: United States: (Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia); New Zealand (Clawson et al, 1997; NPS, 2007; Kelly, 2006; Akerson and Gounaris, 2000; Morgan and Overholt, 2005); Europe: Switzerland (Walther 1999; Berger & Walther 2006, 2007; Berger et al. 2007), British Isles (The BSBI Maps Scheme database., 2008).
Local dispersal methods
On animals: The seeds of Elaeagnus pungens are dispersed by animals (Miller, 2003).
Chemical: Douce and Hudson (undated) state, "thoroughly wet the leaves with Arsenal AC or Vanquish as a 1-percent solution in water with a surfactant (April to October)." If the stem is too high, spray the leaves with Garlon 4 as a 20% solution with basal oil, diesel fuel, or kerosene. Cut large stems and treat the stumps with Arsenal AC (10% solution) or glyphosate (20% solution) in water (Douce and Hudson, undated).
The seeds of Elaeagnus pungens are dispersed by animals (Miller, 2003).
Reviewed by: Dr. Gian-Reto Walther, Dept. Plant Ecology University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth/Germany
Principal sources: Miller , J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93p.;
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Monday, 24 January 2005