Elaeagnus x reflexa


Family: Elaeagnaceae

Origin: Possibly Japan

Elaeagnus branch with single orange berry.
Leaves are arranged alternately on the stems.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Dense, scrambling, evergreen perennial shrub. Stems are < 20 m long, brown and scaly when young and often spiny when mature. Leaves are oval and < 9 cm long, with wavy margins and sliver/brown scaly undersides. Flowers are small, pale white/brown and borne in clusters in autumn. Fruit is oblong, pale red/orange, < 18 x 10 mm and ripens in winter.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell elaeagnus within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant elaeagnus within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any elaeagnus on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Regenerating forest, forest margins, roadsides, hedgerows, cliffs, semi-open disturbed habitats.


Seeds dispersed by birds and mammals. Vegetative spread from fragments, stem layering and root suckers. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, soil movement and deliberate planting.

Impact on environment

Forms dense thickets that smother vegetation. May impede recreational access to natural areas.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water. Remove cut stems to greenwaste or landfill or stack in a pile and spray.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user:

On small plants, regrowth and stacked piles: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Safety notes

Plant has thorns.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up on a cluster of elaeagnus berries.
Flowers form in clusters and are small and white. Flowering is followed by orange fruit.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Elaeagnus covering the canopy of another tree.
It can form dense stands that slowly smother all other plants.
Elaeagnus berry.
Each fruit contains one ribbed seed.
Thick stand of Elaeagnus.
Elaeagnus is a long-lived evergreen.