Silverthorn

red button reading Invasive, No Uses

Invasive and not recommended by the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. Species evaluated in 2014. Will be reassessed every 10 years. Specified and limited uses may be considered by the IFAS Invasive Plants Working Group.

silverthorn shrub neatly shaped

Silverthorn (Elaeagnus Pungens). Lee County Extension, UF/IFAS.

Silverthorn is a large, fast-growing shrub that's sometimes planted in hedges or along highways, since it quickly makes a dense screen.

The plant gets its name from the thorn-like spikes found along its stems. In the spring, silverthorn blooms with tiny but fragrant flowers that smell like gardenias, which is why some people like this plant. It's also tolerant of salt spray and has good drought tolerance.

The plant does have some drawbacks. These sprawling shrubs can reach fifteen feet tall and twenty feet wide. They also put up tentacle-like shoots that can quickly overtake neighboring trees and shrubs. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council considers this plant a Category II invasive exotic species. This means silverthorn has the potential to cause ecological damage.

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