Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Trees & Shrubs

Oleaster (Elaeagnus angustifolius)

Description

This is a small tree that can grow up to 10 metres in height. Younger trees have silver branches that recolour into red when mature. The leaves, long and narrow, show a silvery colour on the underside and greenish above. The flowers are silver outside, yellow inside and lack petals. The fruit is orange, olive-shaped with sweet, mealy flesh, fill the air with a sweet scent in springtime. This species has two varieties, a wild one that has spiny branches and smaller fruit than the other variety. The second one is the tame variety and has slightly larger fruits and branches without spines.

Habitat

While the natural habitats are mostly on sandy beaches and estuaries, it is often planted as a cultural species, making it more widespread. This species is relatively often seen all across Greece.

Protection status

This species is listed as “Not Evaluated” by the IUCN Red List.

Interesting facts

The sweet scent in the springtime and the fruits make this tree a very common species in gardens and courtyards. The Greek name translates into “sweet willow”.

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