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Silverthorn, Thorny Olive, Thorny Elaeagnus, Pungent Elaeagnus

Elaeagnus pungens

Family: Elaeagnaceae
Genus: Elaeagnus (el-ee-AG-nus) (Info)
Species: pungens (PUN-gens) (Info)



Foliage Color:




Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Tuskegee, Alabama

Concord, California

Sacramento, California

Bartow, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Brunswick, Georgia

Buford, Georgia

Fayetteville, Georgia

Covington, Louisiana

Charlotte, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Lexington, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Richmond, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 27, 2017, floramakros from Sacramento Valley, CA wrote:

Makes a wonderful evergreen hedge. Silver color contrast of the leaf undersides is striking. Don't know what the other comment was talking about, if eaten when fully ripe the unusual silver-flecked red berries are delicious and highly addictive! Strong wonderful fragrance, if you don't like it you don't like beautiful scents. Waxy thick leaves make plant very drought tolerant. One of the best plants for a dense sound-proof living borderwall by far, highly recommended. New Golden cultivar Aurea-Maculata has all the assets of the regular variety plus its color glows on dark cloudy days, truly spectacular beauty.


On Mar 29, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this species as a Category ll invasive. It can damage ecosystem functioning and impoverish natural habitat.

It's been reported as invasive in Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, too. http://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=4526

In the US, this has naturalized from Texas to Maryland.


On Oct 25, 2013, amallen from Johns Island, SC wrote:

Grows extremely well on Low Country Barrier Islands but away from salt air. If not pruned regularly can get out of control. Flowers are not noticeable. Fragrance in Oct-Nov. is particularly heavy early morning and evening. May be too fragrant for some.


On Nov 15, 2008, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This sprawling, evergreen shrub has attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. The fruit is edible, but not tasty. In Florida, it has escaped cultivation in some areas and is listed as a Category II Pest Plant.