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Elaeagnaceae: Oleaster Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Elaeagnaceae
Plants of the Oleaster Family

      The Oleaster family consists of occasionally thorny shrubs and trees with alternate or opposite leaves, often silvery in appearance due to the presence of minute hairs. Some species have small orange dots under the leaves. Several members of this family especially prosper in valley bottoms where the soil surface remains dry, but the water table is not far below. The flowers are regular and mostly bisexual, but sometimes dioecious, with male and female flowers appearing on separate plants. There are 4 united sepals but 0 petals. There are 4 stamens in Elaeagnus and 8 in Shepherdia. The ovary is positioned partly or wholly inferior, consisting of one carpel (unicarpellate). The fruit looks like a drupe (a berry with a stony seed), but in this case the ovary matures as an achene (dry seed), and the fleshy fruit is really the swollen calyx (the sepals). The gray or red-orange fruits will help to identify this family. Worldwide, there are 3 genera and 50 species, all native to the northern hemisphere.

Key Words: Shrubs or trees often with silvery leaves and gray or red-orange fruits.

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Elaeagnus angustifolia. Russian Olive.

Elaeagnus angustifolia. Russian Olive.

Elaeagnus angustifolia. Russian Olive.

Elaeagnus angustifolia. Russian Olive. An introduced, sometimes invasive tree. It thrives in the arid west, especially where ground moisture is accessible.

Elaeagnus multiflora. Goumi Berry.

Elaeagnus multiflora. Goumi Berry. Cultivated. Introduced from Asia.

Shepherdia rotundifolia. Round Leaf Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia rotundifolia. Round Leaf Buffaloberry. Natural Bridges National Monument. Utah.

Shepherdia argentea. Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia argentea. Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia argentea. Harvesting buffaloberries.

Shepherdia argentea. Harvesting buffaloberries.

Shepherdia canadensis. Canada Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia canadensis. Canada Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia canadensis. Canada Buffaloberry.

Shepherdia canadensis. Canada Buffaloberry. Tobacco Root Mountains. Montana.

There are more
Oleaster Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
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Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
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Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
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