Spring flower 25: Autumn olive

The autumn olives (wolf berry, Russian olive) are in peak bloom now but yesterday (May 22, 2015), being so cool (17 C), I found only a few bees on them.  In 2006, when I took these photos below, flowers were buzzing with bees. This plant is everywhere and considered invasive. The fruits are edible and contains high amounts of lycopene (17 times higher than that of tomatoes), which is supposed to be preventive for prostate cancer.

The Latin name for this plant is Elaeagnus umbellata, in the family Elaeagnaceae.

These photos were taken with a D70 (yes, only 6 meg pixels!), but they are just as clear and sharp as my D700, just fewer pixels.

Judging from the photos I took, bees are mostly after the nectar and not really going for their pollen.

I was told that these flowers did not really look pretty. Some remarked that they looked they were “fried”. But I still think they are pretty, because bees love ’em!

1. The texture of the flowers shows better here than you can see with the real flowers. Use “view image” to see a larger version of the photos here.

2. Still the same bee, I think.

3. This one must be the one that made to the cover of American Bee Journal, May, 2005.

4. You can see where she is trying to drink the nectar from.

5. Probing really deep.

6. The corolla must be too deep for our bees. She has to bury her head inside…

7. This one I did not use flash so the background looked more natural.


9. This one you can have a good look on the flowers. I thought the flowers opens as white, then turn to yellow. But I may have to tag some flowers to verify this.


1. Wikipedia (23 May 2015) Elaeagnus_umbellata. Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco, CA.

Thank you!

ZBAS = Zach’s Bee Attraction Score.

Posted May 26, 2015
Updated June 5, 2020

Author: Zachary Huang

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