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Elaeagnus commutata

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Elaeagnus commutata

Secure  (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Genus: Elaeagnus
E. commutata
Binomial name
Elaeagnus commutata
  • Elaeagnus argentea Nutt. (1818)
  • Elaeagnus argentea Pursh (1813)
  • Elaeagnus glabra K.Koch (1872)
  • Elaeagnus veteris-castelli Lepage (1955)
  • Shepherdia argentea Schltdl. (1857)

Elaeagnus commutata, the silverberry[3] or wolf-willow, is a species of Elaeagnus native to western and boreal North America, from southern Alaska through British Columbia east to Quebec, south to Utah, and across the upper Midwestern United States to South Dakota and western Minnesota.[4][5] It typically grows on dry to moist sandy and gravel soils in steppes, meadows or woodland edges.[6]


These plants are fast-growing[7] shrubs or small trees growing to 1–4 meters tall and 2-5 meters width. The leaves are broad lanceolate, 2–7 cm long, silvery on both sides with dense small white scales. The fragrant flowers are yellow, with a four-lobed corolla 6–14 mm long. The fruits are ovoid drupes 9–12 mm long, also covered in silvery scales. The fruit pulp is floury in texture, and surrounds the single seed.[6][8][full citation needed]

Use and consumption[edit]

The species is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its silvery foliage.

Both the fruit and seeds of this plant are edible either cooked or raw. The fruit is very astringent unless it is fully ripe. The fruit is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals especially A, C, and E. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids — these fats are rarely found in fruits.[9][full citation needed] This plant, like legumes, is able to fix nitrogen. When grown in orchards as a companion plant, it has been documented to increase fruit production by ten percent. Traditionally the fibrous bark of this tree has been twisted to make strong ropes, and woven into clothing and blankets[9][full citation needed]

Sharp tailed grouse and songbirds eat the fruits.[10] This plant is a food source for sharp tailed grouse in the winter.[11] Silverberry is an important food for wildlife and it provides over one quarter of the diet for moose during winter in Montana. It also provides food for deer and elk. It provides cover and nesting sites for mallards and many passerine birds in North Dakota[12] "In rough fescue grasslands, silverberry at 1,000 stems per acre increases forage production."[13]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2024). "Elaeagnus commutata". Arlington, Virginia. Retrieved 7 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. ex Rydb". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 7 March 2024.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Elaeagnus commutata". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Elaeagnus commutata". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Elaeagnus commutata". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  6. ^ a b Plants of British Columbia: Elaeagnus commutata Archived 2017-10-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Elaeagnus commutata". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  8. ^ https://en.hortipedia.com/Elaeagnus_commutata
  9. ^ a b "Elaeagnus commutata Silverberry PFAF Plant Database".
  10. ^ Petrides, George A. (1998). A Field Guide to Western Trees: Western United States and Canada. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780395904541.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-05-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Esser, Lora L. (1994). "Elaeagnus commutata". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  13. ^ Bailey, Arthur W. (1970). "Barrier effect of the shrub Elaeagnus commutata on grazing cattle and forage production in central Alberta". Journal of Range Management. 23 (4): 248–251. doi:10.2307/3896214. hdl:10150/647549. JSTOR 3896214. [23669]

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