Autumn Olives (Eleagnus umbellata)
Autumn olive also known as autumn silverberry, is a wide spreading shrub that can grow up to 5 meters (16') tall. It is not related to the olive but has similar looking grey-green leaves.
The pea-sized red berries ripen in late September and are loaded with the antioxidant lycopene which is reported to help protect against prostate and other cancers. With lycopene levels 17 times higher than tomatoes, these berries make very healthy drinks or preserves.
Autumn olive bushes are somewhat related to Goumi bushes and boast the same nitrogen fixing abilities. They are hardy and vigorous and will thrive almost anywhere. In fact, they may be best suited to less fertile sites as they tend to prosper with such exuberance that they can crowd out less vigorous plants.
In some localities autumn olives are shunned as an invasive species, while in others they are highly valued for their benefits.