Large shrub with tart edible red berries, ribbed pit

raehelen(USDA 7-8)July 16, 2014

I'm trying to identify this tree/fruit. I have two large shrub/small trees on my property. They are loaded with small white fragrant flowers in spring (bees love 'em), and red soft berries/fruit with a long ribbed pit inside. Edible fruit is slightly tart, bet it would make excellent jam or jelly. Original owner made wine out of it. Back of leaf has a beautiful silvery sheen.

I have always called it a sweet olive, but after researching I think I am mistaken. Anyone know what this is? Do you need any more info to help pin it down?

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Best fit I thought is Elaeagnus oldhamii (which incidentally has a nickname "taiwan sweet olive") - there may be better pics for you to google to compare with but there are a lot of matches from your description - see the link below and also this one(you may need to cut and paste)

Here is a link that might be useful: picture

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:16AM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

Agree that it is an Elaeagnus, but not sure of the species. E. multiflora or -- does the shrub have thorns? -- possibly E. pungens.

None of these are native and can be very invasive... the related autumn olive & Russian olive are both very problematic in the Midwest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elaeagnus

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:18AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Autumn olive is also problematic in this part of the Southeast.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:08AM
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raehelen(USDA 7-8)

Thanks Ladies, (if missingtheobvious is also female).

I now am pretty sure it must be some kind of Elaeagnus, but still am not clear which one. It is none of the ones suggested so far. E. oldhami blooms in winter and fruits in spring, so that's out. It doesn't have yellow flowers or thorns, so E. pungens is out. Closest is E. multiflora, but leaves and fruit of mine are longer than the descriptions I found. I can't imagine mine being considered invasive, as in 18 years have never found one single seedling or sucker, and believe me thousands if not millions of seed have dropped on the ground in that time. I also have never seen another tree like this anywhere, none in my town, (which you would think I would if it was so invasive?)

I am thrilled to read that it is 7 to 17 times higher in lycopene than tomatoes, and that there is current research on its high anti-oxidant properties and possibly cancer preventing properties.

I try to be a responsible gardener and not grow invasive species. Have to say I do recommend this if you can find it in your neck of the woods. Unbelievable fragrance in spring, and I'm gonna try and make some jelly this year. Have never seen any pest or problem, have never watered it, and only job required is cutting back branches that extend over the walkway. Makes an excellent screen from my obnoxious neighbours (yeah...bonus...LOL)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:56PM
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