Russian olive is a hardy, fast-growing tree from Europe, historically promoted for window and ornamental plantings. This tree may reach heights of 10 to 25 feet. The trunks and branches are armed with one to two-inch woody thorns, and leaves are covered with small scales which give the foliage a distinctive silvery appearance.
The berry-like fruit is silvery when first formed but turns brown at maturity. It is very common in western Garfield County especially along the Colorado River and drainages between Silt and Rifle. It is also found in the Roaring Fork Valley, along the river and in pastures near the Catherine Store area.