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, 1-1.5 ft (.3-.5 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.
Endgrain: Ring-porous; 5-10 rows of medium to large earlywood pores, exclusively solitary latewood pores grading from medium to small; tyloses sometimes present; medium to wide rays visible without lens, spacing wide; parenchyma generally not visible with hand lens, or diffuse-in-aggregates (barely visible).
Rot Resistance: No data available.
Workability: No data available.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been 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.