The Russian Olive tree is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced to the US is the early 1900s. Now classified by the state agriculture department as a “noxious weed,” there are efforts in place to limit the spread of this invasive species.
Russian olives are typically grown together in thickets, but alone the trees can reach up to 45 feet tall. They reproduce by root suckers or by birds spreading the seeds (which can remain viable for up to 3 years). Originally heralded for its ability to thrive in semi-arid and high salinity environments, it was commonly used for windbreaks and erosion control. But it also will displace other native species and is so invasive and is now legally classified as a noxious weed in Colorado and New Mexico.
As the trees are typically smaller, the wood is usually used for bowls, handles and smaller applications. Larger, straight pieces like these are harder to find and despite its bad reputation as an invasive plant, the wood is beautiful.