Elaeagnus umbellata, or the Autumn Olive, is a small deciduous tree with a wide spreading canopy. The smooth grey stems create and interesting branch structure below the canopy. The silvery leaves makes them look like olive trees, but unlike olive trees, they are not evergreen and lose their leaves during the winter months.
Elaeagnus umbellata produce tiny white flowers during the summer which get more fragrant during the evening, rather than during the day. This makes them the perfect plant close to an outside entertainment area to enjoy the sweet scent when sitting outside. Towards the end of summer the whole plant gets covered in small bright red translucent fruit. They are edible and apparently full of antioxidants.
This plant is also very good for the soil as they have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil through their roots, which improves the soil quality for other plants around them. This makes them an ideal plant for gardens in new developments where the ground has been compacted by large machinery and your soil needs some love!
Flowers: Masses of tiny fragrant white flowers early summer.
Fruit: Small red edible fruit.
Bark: Smooth, light grey.
Leaves: Deciduous, narrow and oval in shape. Silver underneath and green on top.
Autumn colour: Yellow
Ultimate height: 4m
Requirements: Small statement tree with great shape and colour contrast in the design with its silvery foliage. It fixes nitrogen in the soil as an extra bonus.