Autumn olive is a fast-growing shrub or small tree reaching up to 20 feet tall. Its leaves are small and oval or elliptical, dark green on the upper surface and silvery below. This shrub has light yellow, aromatic flowers and produces large quantities of small, round red fruits that are readily eaten and spread by birds. Often planted for wildlife food and cover in the past, autumn olive can quickly take over open areas, eliminating all other species. Such monocultures actually reduce the variety and amount of wildlife food available. It is now found throughout Indiana. Note – do not buy, sell, or plant autumn olive. <www.invasive.org>
In 100 Years of Change in the Distribution of Common Indiana Weeds by William and Edith Overlease (2002) reported that autumn olive was not found in Indiana in 1899 (Coulter’s Catalogue of Indiana Plants) or in 1940 (Deam’s Flora), but could be found in every county in 2002.