[permaculture] Help IDing an Elaeagnus?

Norris Thomlinson scrub at corrupt.net
Wed May 11 14:05:45 EDT 2005

First, thanks for the responses regarding Indigo!  I got several useful
pointers.  Lisa mentioned Goumi, which leads into my next question...

I have two young specimins of an Elaeagnus species which I haven't been
able to identify.  I have a young E. umbellata which I've used for
comparisons on a few aspects.

Characteristics of the unknown shrubs:


-Supposedly get to about 6-10' tall

-When I got them a few weeks ago all the leaves were silvery on the top
and bottom.  The tops are now becoming more of a light green instead of
silvery.  Looking closely at leaves which remain silvery on top, it looks
as if they have silvery scales.

-The bottoms are definitely covered in silvery scales

-There are brown dots on the bottoms of some of the leaves, but nowhere
near as pronounced as the dots on the E. umbellata.  In general, leaves on
the unknown species which have changed to the light green color on top
have obvious brown dots on the bottom, while leaves which remain silvery
on top do not have brown dots visible to the eye on the bottom or have
just a few light dots.  However, there are plenty of exceptions on various
leaves.  The dots are often concentrated towards the bottom of the leaf,
running into the twig.

-The young growth twigs are a bit fuzzy and light brown, maybe somewhat
reddish, but not as red as the E. multiflora picture at

-The young growth twigs seem to be scaly.  (I'm not exactly sure what I'm
looking for.)

-The trunk and branches aren't exactly rough, but they're not as smooth as
E. umbellata

My best guess is that it's E. multiflora, the Goumi.  However, my leaves
aren't as dark as most of the pictures I've seen, with the exception of
the picture at http://www.zeitlhoefler.de/garteninfos/str_emu.html (which
isn't the greatest quality picture).  The leaves are transitioning from
the original scaly silver to a light green just in the few weeks I've had
them.  It's even possible that some of the leaves are darkening further
(or I may be imagining this).

>From the Plants For a Future database, these are the deciduous Elaeagnus
species which are roughly the right size or have no size given:


>From checking websites and google's image search I'm still left with E.
multiflora as the closest match, but several of those species had no
useful search results.

Thanks in advance for any input!  I'm sure it'll become obvious as these
grow, flower, and fruit, which species they are, but identifying them now
would help a lot with planning appropriately for the yard and placing a
shrub order this week. :)


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