Ajuntament de Barcelona

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Miramar Garden and Camí dels Cims

    Catalan name: 
    Arbre del paradís
    Spanish name: 
    Olivo de Bohemia
    English name: 
    Russian olive

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of this plant is least concern.

    Species characteristics
    Central and Southwestern Asia
    Gardens and parks and naturalized in the Mediterranean area

    Perennial tree up to 10 m tall, with winding trunk, occasionally ramified from the bottom and wide rounded or elongated crown, which is more or less irregular. The young branches joves are silver and prickled and the dark dun bark is very stretch marked when the tree is adult.

    The leaves, 5-8 cm long, are simple and entire. Its shape varies from lanceolate to oblong lanceolate. They are greyish-green on the upper side and silver on the lower side, which is flaky.

    The bell-shaped erect flowers, smelling nicely, are silver on the outside and yellow on the inside and appear into axillary groups up to 3 flowers.

    The fruits are ovoid drupes, similar to an olive but smaller, with a long peduncle. They are flakyand reddish brown and contain a single seed.

    Flowering time: 
    Fruiting time: 
    Late summer
    Uses and properties: 

    The fruit from the Russian Olive Tree, with a taste similar to a nut when dry, is very appreciated in Central Asia, where is used to ellaborate pastry and liqueur. 

    It is also used in gardening for decoration because of the contrast of its silver grey leaf with evergreen trees and the odor of its flowers and because of its resilience to drought. It is also used in slopes to protect from the wind.

    Other species used are Eleagnus pungens and Eleagnus multiflora.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Elaeagnus angustifolia, consists of the genus name Elaeagnus, coming from the Greek words ελαία, "olive tree", and γεννάω, "engender something alike", in allusion to the resemblance of this tree with the olive tree, and the term angustifolia,"with narrow leaves", from the Latin words angusta, "narrow", and folia, "leaf".

    This tree began to be cultivated in 1736 in Germany.

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996