This is a small family of shrubs and small trees, easily recognized by the dense peltate or stellate, silvery or rusty, scales or hairs on leaves, twigs, and buds. As in the Fabaceae, Myricaceae, Alnus, Ceanothus, and a few other plants, nodules on the roots are induced by certain soil microorganisms, which are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and thus enriching the soil. Hippophae rhamnoides, the sea-buckthorn, with narrow alternate leaves and four stamens like Elaeagnus, but with unisexual flowers with only two sepals (as opposed to mostly bisexual flowers with four sepals in Elaeagnus) is sometimes cultivated for ornament and the tasty orange fruits, and may spread into disturbed soil, as in nearby southern Ontario.
1. Leaves alternate; stamens 4; flowers mostly bisexual.
1. Leaves opposite; stamens 8; flowers unisexual (the plants dioecious).
All species found in Elaeagnaceae
MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. November 22, 2017. http://michiganflora.net/family.aspx?id=Elaeagnaceae.