Syst. Veg. ed. 14, 164. 1784.
Shrubs or trees, to 5 m, clonal. Stems armed when young, unarmed when older, silvery-green becoming densely brown-scaly in age. Leaves deciduous; blade elliptic or ovate, (2–)3–8(–10) × 1–2.5 cm, margins entire or ± wavy, surfaces silvery-scaly abaxially, sparsely pubescent, dark green, glossy adaxially. Flowers densely clustered, 3+, appearing to encircle stems; hypanthium narrowly funnelform, 7–8 mm distal to constriction; calyx yellow to cream-white, 3.5–4 mm, calyx lobes with silver scales outside, glabrous inside; nectary disc conspicuous. Fruits bright red or pink, ovoid, 6–8 mm, fleshy, lepidote.
Phenology: Flowering Apr–May.
Habitat: Sandy soils, open areas, oak-hickory woodlands, mesic forests.
Elevation: 0–300 m.
Introduced; N.B., N.S., Ont., Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., e Asia (China, Japan, Korea).
The flowers of Elaeagnus umbellata are more densely clustered and umbel-like than in other species of the genus in the flora area. Originally introduced for soil conservation and as food for wildlife, it is not considered a good plant for home landscapes because it has a tendency to become weedy (M. A. Dirr 2009). The species thrives in acidic or basic soils and birds spread the seeds.