Elaeagnus macrophylla
Common Name: oleaster
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to November
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Also tolerates some shade. Best in light, sandy loams. Established plants have good drought tolerance. This is a vigorous, fast-growing shrub that tolerates a wide variety of soils including poor infertile ones. Avoid poorly drained wet soils. Propagate by cuttings. May self seed in the garden. If planted in areas where growth needs to be restrained, this shrub requires constant pruning to keep it in bounds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Elaeagnus macrophylla, commonly called oleaster, is native to Korea and Japan. It is a large, spreading, evergreen shrub that typically grows to 8-12' tall. Young branchlets are covered with silvery-white scales. Branchlets lack the spines which are present on some genus members. Broad-ovate, silvery-scaled, new growth leaves (to 5 1/2" long) age to dark green above but retain silver color below. Apetalous white flowers (to 1/2" wide) bloom in axillary clusters of 3-6 in October-November. Flowering is sometimes sparse. Scaly, ovoid, red fruits (drupes to 5/8" long) typically ripen in spring (late March-May). Fruits are edible. Each fruit contains one seed (edible after removal of a fibrous endocarp) which has a taste reminiscent of a peanut.

Genus name comes from the Greek words elaia meaning the olive tree and agnos meaning chaste-tree.

Specific epithet means large-leaved.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. This shrub is generally considered to be easy to cultivate. Fungal leaf spot or rust may occur. Watch for spider mites.

Garden Uses

Background plant. Screen, barrier or windbreak. Hedge. Accent in shrub border. Best grown in large area where it will have room to expand.