A small tree up to 6 m tall. Young shoots with dense silvery scales. Leaves 2.5-5.5 cm long, 0.6-3 cm broad, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, acute or obtuse, undersurface especially silvery ash grey. Flowers axillary, solitary or 2-3, covered with peltate scales on the outside. Male flowers 8 mm long, perianth tube campanulate. Hermaphrodite flowers longer; tepals 4, c. 3.5 mm broad, ovate, stellately hairy and yellow within; anthers sessile,. c. 3.5 mm long; ovary 2.5 mm long; style glabrous, 6-8 mm long. Fruit elliptic-oblong, 1.5-2 cm long, reddish-brown, endocarp hard and bony, not ribbed.
Fl. Per.: April-May.
Type: ‘Habitat in Bohemia, Hispania, Syria, Cappadocia.’.
Distribution: S.E. Europe to Czechoslovakia and C. Russia, C. and W. Asia to W. Himalayas.
‘Russian olive’ is mostly cultivated and also found wild in Kashmir and trans-Indus from 1800-3500 m. The yellow flowers have a strong pleasant odour. The acid fruit is astringent and can be eaten.