Top Photo: Autumn olive berries.
Autumn olive is considered an extremely invasive shrub. It can overwhelm the forest understory, fields and openings where it grows, crowding out native species.
Here at the museum it flowers in March-April. The tart, red fruit is ripe by July-August.
It spreads across the landscape largely through the action of birds. Birds eat the fruit, fly off and deposit the undigested seeds in their droppings. The seeds germinate where they fall.
The fruit is tasty, a sort of sweet-tart flavor. I sometimes eat them myself as I walk around the campus. But I’d gladly give up the readily available and tasty fruit to be rid of the plant on the forest understory and edges.
Be careful what you plant and be mindful of what’s growing around you.