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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 121. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Elaeagnus L. (oleaster)

Plants shrubs or small trees, with a dense covering of silvery or rusty, peltate or stellate, scales or hairs on leaves, twigs, and buds. Leaves alternate, short-petiolate. Stipules absent. Leaf blades simple, the margins entire. Inflorescences small clusters of flowers or solitary flowers in the leaf axils. Flowers perfect but sometimes functionally unisexual, deeply perigynous, the receptacle elongated into a tubular or funnelform hypanthium with a pronounced constriction just above the ovary (which thus appears inferior), the nongreen portion above the ovary shed before fruiting. Sepals (3)4(–6), petaloid, spreading, similar in texture to the hypanthium, with stellate hairs at the tips. Stamens 4, attached near the tip of the hypanthium alternating with the sepals, the filaments very short. Petals absent. Ovary superior, 1-locular, with 1 ovule. Style 1, linear, with the stigma a linear area along the side toward the tip. Fruits achenes, but appearing drupelike or berrylike, the achene enclosed by (but not fused with) the expanded fleshy receptacle. About 40 species, North America, Europe, Asia.

The flowers of Elaeagnus have a strong, sweet fragrance and are unusual in that the hypanthium changes color and texture above the ovary, appearing confusingly similar to a corolla tube with four lobes at the tip. The fruits are similarly confusing, as the base of the hypanthium turns fleshy and berrylike. Roots of most species of Elaeagnus can form symbiotic relationships with soilborne bacteria of the genus Rhizobium, which have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates that are absorbed as nutrients by plants, and they thus act to enrich the soil


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1 1. Leaves and branchlets with only silvery scales; hypanthium (beyond the constricted area above the ovary) slightly longer than to about 1.5 times as long as the sepals ... 1. E. ANGUSTIFOLIA

Elaeagnus angustifolia
2 1. Leaves and branchlets with scattered to dense rusty brown scales; hypanthium (beyond the constricted area above the ovary) at least 2 times as long as the sepals ... 2. E. UMBELLATA Elaeagnus umbellata
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