Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Russian olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia


  • Small ornamental tree
  • Small fragrant yellow flowers
  • Silver leaves and black bark
  • Edible silver fruit that resemble olives
  • Small thorns along branches

Introduction and spread

  • Native to central Asia and Eastern Europe
  • It is a popular ornamental tree that gardens have planted and now it had jumped the garden fence
  • Cut stems grow back vigorously
  • Birds and wildlife eat the fruit which allows excellent seed dispersal

Consequences of invasion

  • Russian olive is a very hardy plant, therefore it outcompetes native shrubs and plants
  • Fends off grazing animals with thorns
  • Alters nitrogen in the soil
    Credit: Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes

Status in the CKISS region

  • It has not been detected in the Kaslo or Nakusp Invasive Plant Management Areas (IPMAs).
  • It has been found with a limited distribution in the remaining IPMAs of our region, where eradication is the goal and is feasible.
  • Please report sightings of this species immediately.
  • To learn more about how CKISS classifies and manages invasive species, see our Invasive Species Priority Lists page.

Integrated pest management options



  • Depending on it’s size, the tree can be cut; however, this will need to be maintained yearly.
  • Very strong vinegar can be applied over cut stumps to slow growing process.
  • Remove seedling early, ensuring all the roots are removed as well


  • No biocontrol currently available in BC.


  • It may be an option and is best after cutting the trunk off at the base. Contact a professional to see if it’s right for you.


Additional resources