What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

thorny olive

on April 23, 2014

My environmental ethics holds that thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens) must be a valuable member of its native Asian ecosystem. But I can’t imagine what anyone finds appealing enough about it to cultivate the species in the US. Thorny olive looks perennially parched (when its characteristic brown leaf spots aren’t making it look blighted), has sharp shoots that aren’t proper thorns but stick just the same, and periodically sends out absurdly long shoots that seem bent on tangling in other vegetation. Most departments of natural resources in the southern US states list it as an invasive species. The seeds are readily spread by birds.

Eventually we hope to find and dig up every specimen in our yard. Today we began with one individual toward which we’d conceived a specific irritation. It was planted by a previous owner outside the bedroom window, and lately on windy nights it’s scratched the siding of the house as if moved by malevolent glee … just inches from our pillowed-but-unsleeping heads.

Nimue went at it this morning with a pruning saw and had it down before I could take a picture. Small loss; it’s better to happily envision the hollyhocks we intend to try in its place.

shedding style: demolish
destination: brush pile

Comments welcome … anything invading your ecosystem?


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