Characteristics of Silverberry Tree (Elaeagnus angustifolia) in the Wild

Elaeagnus angustifolia
Silverberry (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a plant species of the genus Elaeagnus originating from western and central Asia including Afghanistan, southern Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iran, and parts of Pakistan. Now the tree has been widely cultivated in North America and southern Europe.

The name comes from the similarity of the shape of the tree to Olive (Olea europaea). Although very similar, they are not brothers. The similarity makes a silverberry tree nicknamed with a synonym similar to olives such as Russian olive, Persian olive, Wild olive, and Oleaster.

Currently, silverberry trees are widely planted and cultivated to be commercialized as fragrant flowered ornamental plants or as trees that can be harvested for fruit.

The silverberry tree has a long history of cultivation. It was described as Ziziphus cappadocia by John Gerard, planted by John Parkinson in 1633, and grown in Germany in 1736.

The silverberry species was first introduced to North America at the end of the 19th century and is now considered an invasive species in many places in the United States because it thrives on poor soil. It also has a high survival rate and outperforms native vegetation. Its fast-spreading root system makes it look like a pest tree.


Characteristics of Silverberry Leaf

Elaeagnus angustifolia Leaf
Source : Tannery

The leaves are similar to olives, have a silvery color, thick, lanceolate, 4-9 cm long and 1-3 cm wide, with smooth margins.


Characteristics of Silverberry Flower

Elaeagnus angustifolia Flower
Source : Zharkikh

The flowers are very aromatic, grow in groups, 1 cm long with creamy yellow petals, and appear early in the summer.


Characteristics of Silverberry Fruit

Elaeagnus angustifolia Fruit
Source : Rockstein

The silverberry fruit is like a cherry, small in shape, 1-2 cm long, orange to red, and covered in silvery scales. The fruit is sweet and has a dry texture.


Characteristics of Silverberry Tree

Elaeagnus angustifolia Tree
Source :’herbier en photos

Silverberry trees grow to form shrubs or small trees as tall as 5-7 meters. The tree can fix nitrogen in its roots which allows it to grow in poor soil.


In Iran, dried fruit is often used as food as a mixture of milk.

Silverberry fruit is also one of the seven compositions used in Haft-sin which is the traditional table setting of Nowruz, or the traditional Persian spring celebration.


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