This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Silvery-scaly shrubs, some exotic species trees, with alternate petioled leaves. Flowers solitary or 2-4 together in the axils, pedicelled, not bracted, perfect or polygamous. Perianth tubular below, constricted over the top of the ovary, the upper part campanulate or urn-shaped, 4-lobed, deciduous, the lobes valvate. Stamens 4, borne on the throat of the perianth. Style linear, long. Fruit drupe-like, the ripened perianth-base fleshy or mealy, enclosing the striate or grooved nut. [Greek, sacred olive.]
About 20 species, natives of Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Only the following is known in North America. Type species: Elaeagnus angustifolia L.
Stoloniferous, much branched, thornless, sometimes 12° high, the young twigs covered with brown scurf, becoming silvery. Leaves oblong, ovate or oval-lanceolate, densely silvery-scurfy on both sides, acute or obtuse, short-petioled, 1'-4' long; flowers usually numerous, 1 to 3 in the axils, fragrant, silvery, 6"-8" long; perianth silvery without, yellowish within, its lobes ovate, about 1" long; fruit oval, silvery, 4"-6" long, the stone 8-striate.
Quebec to Hudson Bay, Yukon, British Columbia, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah. May-July. Fruit edible, ripe July-Aug.