silverberry

(Elaeagnus commutata)

Conservation Status
silverberry
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  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

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Silverberry 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

3½ to 13

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Yellow inside, silvery outside

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

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

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

Late May to early July

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 28.

 
  1/9/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  
 

Family

Elaeagnaceae (oleaster)  
 

Genus

Elaeagnus (silverberry, oleaster)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

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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Habitat

  silverberry    
       

Plant

  silverberry   silverberry
       

Leaves

  silverberry    

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  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.

 
     

 

slideshow

       
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