Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Silverberry, Wolfberry, Wolf Willow
Elaeagnus commutata

Family: Elaeagnaceae
Genus: Elaeagnus (el-ee-AG-nus) (Info)
Species: commutata (kom-yoo-TAH-tuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Nov 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a gangly shrub with leaves that are brilliantly silvered on both sides, unlike those of E. umbellatus and E. angustifolia, which are olive green above. As the common name suggests, the fruit is silver and not reddish.

The foliage is beautiful, but the habit doesn't easily lend itself to garden use. It spreads underground by rhizomes and frequently suckers at a considerable distance from the parent plant.

It is native to Alaska, western and boreal Canada, and south into the Rockies and northern Great Plains. It does not long survive where summers are hot and humid.

Even in Boston, at the Arnold Arboretum this has been a slow grower.

I suspect that both comments below (and some of the geographic reports) are about different Eleaegnus species, most likely either E. umbellata or E. angustifolia, which have been commonly planted and are widely naturalized in eastern North America.

According to the exhaustive BONAP atlas, this species has been reported in only 4 states east of the Mississippi, none in New England. commutata.png

Positive Bemhawk On Apr 9, 2004, Bemhawk from Sterling, VA wrote:

I absolutly love this plant, but many people are under the misconception that deer will eat this plant instead of others. I have seen deer starve rather than eat this plant. Other than that, the foliage is just beautiful and it is a very fast grower.

Positive AlliLake On Jul 21, 2003, AlliLake from Portsmouth, NH wrote:

This plant grows like a weed all over New England along the side of the roads. As a bush it can get rather large and seems to spread. I trained one into a tree in front of my house. It has done wonderful. Withstanding winter salting from the plow trucks and reqular traffic. Keeping it at seven feet has fulled the tree out in a rounded manner. Great, strong odor in the spring. It has bothered people with allergies. I have not had any issues with the tree/bush spreading.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Saint Augustine, Florida
Buford, Georgia
Tilton, New Hampshire
Belfield, North Dakota
Summerville, South Carolina

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