Elaeagnus pungens is a species of flowering plant in the family Elaeagnaceae, known by the common names thorny olive, spiny oleaster and silverthorn; also by the family name "oleaster". It is native to Asia, including China and Japan.
Elaeagnus pungens, commonly called thorny elaeagnus or silverthorn, is native to China and Japan. It is a large, sprawling, durable, broad-leaved evergreen shrub that typically grows to 12-15' tall. Young branchlets are covered with brown scales. Branchlets are usually spiny. Wavy-margined, elliptic to oblong leaves (to 3.5" long) are lustrous green above but silvery-white and dotted with tiny brown scales below. Small, apetalous, bell-shaped, creamy white flowers (to 1/4" long) bloom in axillary clusters in late fall (October-November). Flowers are not particularly showy, but are intensely fragrant (some suggest gardenia-scented). Small, one-seeded, reddish-brown fruits (drupes to 1/2" long) typically ripen in spring. Genus name comes from the Greek words elaia meaning the olive tree and agnos meaning chaste-tree. Specific epithet means sharp-pointed in reference to the sharp thorny spines found on this species. It's invasive in Virginia.