The autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata) are laden with fruit this year.
The wet summer has been very good for things that produce fruit, and each of these berries has a seed in it.
If a bird eats it, the seed will pass through the bird, and a new autumn olive will grow.
And this wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t such a persistent invasive species.
This plant does very well in West Virginia. Abandoned pastures that have begun the transition back to forest soon fill with autumn olives and multiflora rose. Within just a few years, the tallest things standing in the pasture are the autumn olives.
The berries feed the birds and provide cover for them to nest and roost.
But the plant itself holds off the new forest from returning. Succession is held off while the invasive species flourishes.
Autumn olives were originally brought into West Virginia to “reafforest” strip mine lands, where they certainly do thrive.
However, they don’t just stay there. The birds carry them all over.
I don’t think anything can be done to stop this plant. It’s just that hardy.
I’ve heard the berries are edible, but I’ve never tried them.
I think all leave them to the birds.
At least for now.