Russian Olive

When there’s a bustle in our hedgerow it is probably a mockingbird looking for:

russian olive
Russian Olive

Just when the holly berries run out the Russian Olive drupes begin to ripen.

I know it is invasive and even ‘noxious’ for some. Someday I will do the responsible thing and remove it.

Why am I reluctant to act now?

1. Spicy flower fragrance.

Confederate jasmine? Nice. Honeysuckle? Mmmm. Sweet peas? Swoon. Lilac? Dim memory. But when I pass by anything spicy? The fragrance enters my bones. I could very well be a Dianthus junky and the Russian Olive is the closest thing I’ve got going.

2. Silver leaves.

3. Flourishes despite the shade.

4. Nitrogen fixing roots.

5. Sweet drupes.

My husband says they are astringent. I gave him one to eat the other day and his face twisted into an impossible shape. When he was able to speak again accusations were made but they taste cherry sweet to me. On this point, the mockingbirds and I are in agreement.

6. Drought tolerant.

I have never had to water this shrub even in the middle of the terrible-horrible-no good-very bad year.

I am looking for native replacements. Two possibilities are: Paw Paw Asimina triloba andPersimmon Diospyros texana. Open to suggestions. Zone 8b. Clay soil. Dense shade.


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