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OLEASTER, known botanically as Elaeagnus hortensis, a handsome deciduous tree, 15 to 20 ft. high, growing in the Mediterranean region and temperate Asia, where it is commonly cultivated for its edible fruit. The brown smooth branches are more or less spiny; the narrow leaves have a hoary look from the presence of a dense covering of star-shaped hairs; the small fragrant yellow flowers, which are borne in the axils of the leaves, are scaly on the outside. The genus contains other species of ornamental deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees. E. argcntea, a native of North America, has leaves and fruit covered with shining silvery scales. In E. glabra, from Japan, the evergreen leaves are clothed beneath with rustcoloured scales; variegated forms of this are cultivated, as also of E. pungens, another Japanese species, a spiny shrub with leaves silvery beneath.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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