Russian olive is a member of the Oleaster family. A hardy, fast-growing tree introduced from Europe, Russian olive has been promoted for windrow and ornamental plantings.
This tree may reach heights from 10 to 25 feet. The trunks and branches are armed with 1 to 2 inch woody thorns. The leaves are covered with small scales which give the foliage a distinctive silvery appearance. The fruit is berry-like, and is silvery when first formed but turns brown at maturity.
According to Weber and Wittmann in Colorado Flora: Western Slope, "This tree is rapidly replacing native riparian species and eliminating valuable nesting sites for birds. It should be eliminated whenever possible."