silverberry

(Elaeagnus commutata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

silverberry

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

UPL - Obligate upland

Midwest

UPL - Obligate upland

Northcentral & Northeast

UPL - Obligate upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

 

 
Habitat

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, meadows, streambanks, thickets. Full sun or light shade.

 
Flowering

Late May to early July

     
Flower Color

Yellow inside, silvery outside

     
Height

3½ to 13

     

Identification

This is an erect, long-lived, perennial shrub that rises on a single stem from a strong rhizome. It sometimes forms thickets. It can be from 3½ to 13 tall at maturity, though in Minnesota it is usually no more than 6 in height.

The bark on young plants is gray or grayish-brown. On mature plants the bark becomes rough and scaly.

First-year branches are densely covered with shiny, brown, bran-like scales. Second-year branches are ashy gray. There are no thorns.

The leaves are alternate, deciduous, elliptical, 1 to 2½ long, and to 1 wide. They are on scaly, to ¼ long leaf stalks. The upper surface is covered with silvery, bran-like scales. The lower surface is covered with silvery, bran-like scales and often also has a few reddish scales. The margins are untoothed. The scales give the leaves a metallic appearance.

The inflorescence is a cluster of 1 to 4 flowers rising from the leaf axils near the base of current-year twigs.

The flowers are ¼ to long and perfect (have both male and female parts). The 4 sepals are fused at the base into a bell-shaped tube, then separated into 4 triangular to egg-shaped, spreading lobes. They are yellow on the inside, and silvery on the outside. There are no petals. The flowers appear in early June to early July.

The fruit is a broadly ellipse-shaped, to 9 16 long, dry, mealy drupe. It is silvery due to a dense covering of scales. The fruit ripens in early-August to early-September and is dispersed by birds and other animals. The pit is ellipse-shaped.

 
Similar
Species

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a large shrub or small tree. The leaves are narrower.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Elaeagnaceae (oleaster)

 
Synonyms

Elaeagnus argentea

 
Common
Names

American silverberry

silverberry

wolf-willow


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Drupe

A fleshy fruit with a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       

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  silverberry    
       

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  silverberry   silverberry
       

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  Eleagnus commutata
Susanne Wiik
 
  Eleagnus commutata  
 
About

Præriesølvbusk, American silverberry

 
     
  Elaeagnus commutata
Matt Lavin
 
  Elaeagnus commutata  
 
About

Native shrub 1-3 m tall, the brownish twigs and broad leaves distinguish this native species from the introduced E. angustifolia, forming thickets on banks of rivers and streams.

 
     

 

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