Wolf Willow, Silverberry

Brown and beige striped seeds make beautiful beaded bracelets and necklaces.

WOLF WILLOW, SILVERBERRY (Elaeagnus commutata)

This medium to tall shrub is one of my favourite and least favourite prairie shrubs. The plants are uniquely silver, with copper-coloured speckling on newer branches and the undersides of some leaves. Older branches are a solid coppery brown – an attractive contrast to the silver foliage. Discrete clusters of yellow flowers hide in the leaf axils and produce an incredibly pungent fragrance not unlike the chemical used to make outhouses smell better. Thankfully, this nasty trait is short-lived and overshadowed by the shrub’s visual appeal. Berries are the same colour as the foliage with a dry, mealy coating around a single large football-shaped seed. The seeds are striped brown and beige and make beautiful beaded bracelets and necklaces.

Grows with big bluestem, little bluestem, Sorghastrum, black-eyed susan, upland white goldenrod and white prairie clover.

Flower Colour: yellow
Life Cycle: perennial
Sun Exposure: full sun – part shade
Bloom Period: June – July
Height: 3 – 12 ft
Soil: Dry – medium