autumn olive, drupes

Autumn Olive, fruits. . . . (Elaeagnus ublellata) Introduced to North America.

In the US, Atumn Olive is on many areas' most-hated
lists of introduced or non-native weedy species. Birds love
the berries, eat them well into Fall, and so distribute the
seeds in prodigious quantities. Remarkably, I’ve spent
many a Saturday afternoon in a beautiful area not of North
America but the Netherlands cutting down, burning, poisoning,
and cursing in sundry languages the proud American Black
(Prunus serotina); it spreads out through the Dutch
wilds in a similar fashion. When a nature lover in Holland says,
Amerikaanse Vogelkers, the Lowland name for the species,
it always sounds to me as if he or she is about to spit,
such a terrible problem are the plants.

It must be said, however, that both not-at-home shrubs
produce edible fruit. And that both look especially wayward after
the first cold snap and freeze of Autumn with their still green but
wilted leaves side by side most of the natives who have more
prudently lost their foliage in preparation for Winter.

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2006

(created: IX.3.2005)