Oleaster (Russian Olive)
Oleaster (Russian Olive)

Also known as Russian Olive, the Oleaster produces thorns that may provide a modicum of security. Yet, as an exotic species it often invades native habitats and thus in some areas it is considered a "pest" species. Although it offers some advantages, it also brings disadvantages.

Home Security

Some people plant the Oleaster for security purposes, as the twigs terminate in thorns. However, it does not grow as densely as other species to form an effective screen.


Oleaster may grow to a shrub as high as twelve feet or a tree with a maximum height of forty-five feet. Decidous or evergreenvarities are available. It produces linear, green leaves with silver/brown scales; small, white, fragrant flowers and light green, ovular fruit that resemble olives.


This plant offers relatively easy maintenance and grows fast, up to six feet per year. It may grow in temperate or subtropical climates and grows well near water sources, but the soil must be well drained and it also must have full sun. It tolerates a wide range of soil types, sand to heavy clay that may be acidic, neutral, or alkiline. This plant also tolerates strong winds and cold.


Oleaster is considered a "pest" species in many areas. It may constitute an invasive exotic, in that it crowds out native species and is hard to eradicate. It often chokes drainage ditches. Therefore, you should fully investigate legal requirements in your community, such as landscape codes before planting Oleaster. Some communities prohibit planting pest species.


Unlike many other plants that require nitrogen-rich soil, Oleaster actually replaces nitrogen in the soil, increasing its fertility. Oleaster does provide some security with thorny twigs and is easy to maintain. However, other species such as blackthorn and bougainvillea may grow more densely. It is considered a pest species in many areas and planting it may be restricted by law.