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Elaeagnus—another invasive!

In last week’s column, I wrote about Nandina domestica, sacred or heavenly bamboo, and the problems it causes as both an invasive and a toxic plant. I referred to the “Dirty Dozen” list compiled by staff members at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. The list consists of plants that often are discovered at the garden, growing among the desired specimens. I have offered information on five of the dozen, all of which we fight to eradicate from our property, including Japanese stiltgrass, tree-of-heaven, English ivy, and Japanese honeysuckle.

A sixth entry on the list caused problems for us. Several years ago, Jim and I spent a day cutting down and removing a massive invasion of autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). Autumn olive and two other species of Elaeagnus, thorny olive (E. pungens) and Russian olive (E. angustifolia) are natives to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, which is one reason they find Virginia, especially our coastal region, so welcoming.

Autumn ...

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