[permaculture] Cross-pollination/Autumn olive

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Tue Jun 16 12:05:23 EDT 2009


Autumn olive is not invasive in the US Pacific Northwest, where Norris 
lives. It's become invasive in several states (all having summer rain) 
because various transportation departments planted millions of them 
along roads, and birds have, predictably, carried the highly nutritious 
berries all over. Once again, it's a management issue. The plant is not 
the problem, and I'd be surprised if the modest number sold each year 
will significantly add to the problem created by the millions planted by 
gov't.

It's an N-fixer, and its ability to coppice (be chopped down and return) 
is a superb way to deliver nitrogen to depleted soils.

There is an astounding absence of evidence that an exotic plant species 
alone has ever significantly contributed to the decline of a native 
species; check the literature (so nicely compiled by David 
Theodoropoulos). It's an assumption we make that almost never stands up 
to examination. The culprit is always prior habitat destruction and 
disturbance that harmed the "natives" and favored the "invader" (totally 
unscientific terms, by the way).

Douglas Fir, a hallmark and beloved species of my bioregion, is not 
native to the Northwest. It came from elsewhere and was a highly 
successful invader at one point, as it is now in New Zealand, where it, 
too, was planted by the millions.

Toby
http://patternliteracy.com


Adrienne Juergens wrote:
> Hi Norris,
> I thought it might be worthwhile mentioning that Autumn Olive is a
> very invasive species and can take over an area fairly quickly (since
> the birds love to poop out the seeds), and eventually crowds out
> native plants.  I don't know the plans you have for it, but I've tried
> without much luck in chopping it back as it comes back quite
> vigorously.  If you want to check out native alternatives, there is a
> great website called: www.wildflower.org
>
> These are some native alternatives to Autumn Olive from that webstie:
> Baccharis halimifolia (eastern baccharis)
> Baccharis neglecta (Rooseveltweed)
> Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)
> Hamamelis virginiana (American witchhazel)
> Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)
> Shepherdia canadensis (russet buffaloberry)
> Styrax americanus (American snowbell)
>  I don't know if they would work for cross-pollinations with your
> other Elaeagnus, but maybe it's something to consider.
> But that site, www.wildflower.org  is a GREAT resource for info on
> native plants, their requirements, their uses, ability to attract
> wildlife/birds, etc.
> I hope that helps,
> Adrienne Juergens
>
> On Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM, Norris Thomlinson<norristh at gmail.com> wrote:
>   
>> Does anyone know whether a seedling of a self-fertilized plant will
>> generate a plant genetically different enough to give the benefits of
>> cross-pollination?
>>
>> Specifically, I have a mature "Sweet Scarlet" goumi (Elaeagnus
>> multiflora) which is very well self-fertile, but is supposed to do
>> better with a partner for pollination.  I started three seedlings from
>> saved seed, with surprisingly low germination rate compared to the
>> Autumn Olives I started--are the self-pollinated seeds less viable?
>>
>> If I plant one of the seedlings, will it improve the fruit-set of the
>> original mother plant?
>>
>> Thanks for any information anyone can share!
>>
>> Norris Thomlinson
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