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Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata).  Autumn olive was introduced to the United States from east Asia in the 1830s.  It is a deciduous shrub or small tree in the Oleaster family.  Leaves are alternate, oval to lanceolate, and untoothed.  The underside of the dark green leaf is covered with silver-white scales.  The plant may grow to a height of 20 feet.  It is considered a very troublesome invasive species.  In addition to its prolific fruiting, seed dispersal by birds, rapid growth, and ability to thrive in poor soils, autumn olive resprouts vigorously after cutting or burning.  It creates heavy shade which suppresses plants that require direct sunlight (Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation).

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Photographs by Valerie Lykes