Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

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Common Name(s): Russian Olive

Scientific Name: Elaeagnus angustifolia

Distribution: Native to eastern Europe and western and central Asia; naturalized throughout North America

Tree Size: 20-35 ft (6-10 m) tall, 1 ft (.3 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 43 lbs/ft3 (685 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .55, .69

Janka Hardness: 1,240 lbf (5,530 N)*

*Estimated hardness based upon specific gravity

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage:No data available

Color/Appearance: Color ranges from a light yellowish-brown to a darker golden brown, sometimes with a greenish hue. Sapwood a much lighter yellow-white.

Grain/Texture: Unlike true Olive (Olea genus), Russian Olive is very porous and of an uneven grain texture.

Endgrain: Ring-porous; 5-10 rows of medium earlywood pores, exclusively solitary latewood pores grading from medium to very small; growth rings distinct; rays visible without lens; parenchyma not visible with hand lens.

Rot Resistance: No data available.

Workability: No data available.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: There have been no adverse health effects associated with Russian Olive. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Russian Olive tends to be a very small tree, with a highly branching form that is not conducive to large or straight logs. Wood is limited to small-scale and hobbyist uses. Being a fairly common and fast-growing tree, prices should be moderate.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Knife scales, bowls, pens, and other small woodturning projects.

Comments: Originally brought to the United States in the late 1800s for windbreaks and erosion control (and as an ornamental tree). However, because of the tree’s rapid growth and adaptability to poor soil, it’s now considered an invasive species in many areas of the United States.

Russian Olive is not closely related to the wood that is commonly referred to as Olivewood (Olea europaea) and may be distinguished from true Olive by the endgrain. Olive is diffuse porous, while Russian Olive is ring-porous.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures:

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Russian Olive (sanded)

Russian Olive (sealed)

Russian Olive (sealed)

Russian Olive (endgrain)

Russian Olive (endgrain)

Russian Olive (endgrain 10x)

Russian Olive (endgrain 10x)