Elaeagnus: Silverberry
Elaeagnus pungens
Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'

Silverberry: Elaeagnus ebbingei & Elaeagnus pungens

At a glance these two species are easy to confuse. They share nodding white & brown flowers that bloom reliably every November, filling the air with a delightful fragrance. The flowers are small and hidden in the foliage, so it is not obvious where the sweet cinnamon scent is eminating from, unless you're in the know. Both are evergreen plants that grow to a good size for most hedges, and both are really tough, accepting the hottest and driest and windiest conditions Portland can offer.

Run your hands along a branch though, and you'll quickly discover the difference; thorns! The thorns on Elaeagnus pungens are up to 2" long & they aren't messing around, so beware! Plant thorny Silverberries in a low-traffic area and allow plenty of space so they can grow without being pruned. Elaeagnus ebbingei is the kinder gentler version with nice smooth stems.

There are a few varieties of Silverberries available, but the most common is 'Gilt Edge'. It has cool bi-colored green and gold leaves and it's just as tough as it's relatives.

Elaeagnus ebbingei 'Gilt Edge'

Elaeagnus ebbingei 'Gilt Edge'

Grows 8-12' x 812', sun to part shade, Z7.

Goumi 'Sweet Scarlet' (Elaeagnus multiflora hybrid)

Elaeagnus multiflora: Goumi Berry

Goumi Berries are grown mainly for delicious sweet tart red fruits that are similar to pie cherries, but fruit is not all they have to offer. Goumi Berries are covered in sweet smelling white flowers in spring and their upright solid growth habit would make a nice deciduous hedge. Plants are self-fertile but will produce more if planted with another variety. Berries ripen in July.

Grows 6' x 6', sun, Z4.

Elaeagnus umbellata

Elaeagnus umbellata 'Autumn Olive'

Autumn Olive is not related to true olives, which depending on how you feel about olives could be a good or bad thing. Autumn Olive fruit is red or amber and nutrient rich. It's self-fertile, and berries ripen in September. Fragrant white flowers bloom in May, and it reportedly improves soils where it's planted.

Grows 10-12' x 10-12', sun, Z3