by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Elaeagnus angustifolia   (Russian olive)

Elaeagnus angustifolia  (ELAEAGNACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2009 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Elaeagnus angustifolia - datasheet created on Dec-2009. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Elaeagnus angustifoliaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 121 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Elaeagnus argentea Moench
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Elaeagnaceae Juss. (The Oleaster Family)
1 species from the Elaeagnaceae family is recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Russian olive, Persian olive, Silver berry

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Persisting Alien. Introduced species for horticulture (flowering plants) or agriculture (herbs or fruiting trees) usually within the last 2 centuries and persist after their original location or site is abandoned. They do not widespread but usually remain as a single tree or a very localised population.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

April – May

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

angustifolia: Leaves that are narrow. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Produces small, four-petalled, yellow flowers that are highly fragrant, with a vanilla-like scent. Cultivated as an ornament in road sides or parks but some trees persisted and grow on their own without any mediation from man.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Planted for ornament and widely naturalised
Preferred habitat in Malta: Cultivated in few stations where it had persisted in at least two sites that the trees have been cultivated and then abandoned.
Botanical Description: More or less spiny shrub or small tree up to 7 m. Twigs covered with silvery scales. Leaves 4-8 x 1-2.5 cm, oblong- or linear-lanceolate, green above, covered with silvery scales beneath. Flowers 8-10 mm, appearing with the leaves. Fruit 10-20 mm, ellipsoid, succulent, yellow, covered with silvery scales.
Distributional range: Naturalised in S. Europe, northwards to Czechoslovakia and C. Russia.
Native region outside Europe: Temperate Asia

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, Bulgaria, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Romania, Russia and former USSR
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ar Sy Tu(A) [Ab(A) nAE AE(G) nAl Au nAu(A) Az(M) nBe(B) Bl nBu By nCo nCr aCs Ct nCy nGa(F) nGe Gg(A G) nGr Ho nHs Hs(S) Hu aIJ aIr nIt nJu aLe aLS nMa Md(P) Mk Mo Rf(C K) Rm aSa Sk Sl nTn nTu(A E) nUk(K) Uk(U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (10 images)
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-0.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-1.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-2.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-3.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-4.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-5.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-6.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-7.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-8.
   Elaeagnus angustifolia   -   Image Code: ELAAF-9.

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