Gold Dust Elaeagnus Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata' (v)

πŸ‘€ Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
πŸͺ Edible
β€πŸŒ± Easy-care
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'
oleaster 'Maculata'


The Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata', commonly known as the variegated silverthorn, is an ornamental shrub that is notable for its striking foliage and overall visual appeal. The leaves of this variety have a unique appearance; they are oval-shaped with a distinct leathery texture. The variegated silverthorn is most recognizable by its leaves, which feature a vibrant green background splashed with irregular creamy yellow to white markings, giving the plant a speckled or blotched look. This variegation adds a luminous quality to the foliage, which can brighten up shady areas in a garden. The leaves are often described as glossy or shimmering, especially in the sunlight, which enhances the contrast between the green and the variegated zones. The edges of the leaves are typically wavy or slightly undulated, adding to the textured appearance of the shrub. In addition to its decorative leaves, the variegated silverthorn produces small, fragrant flowers which may not be overly conspicuous but add a subtle charm to the plant. These flowers are often followed by small fruits, which can be an additional point of interest. Overall, the variegated silverthorn makes for an attractive planting choice due to its eye-catching foliage that provides year-round interest. It is a versatile plant used in a variety of landscaping situations to create visual contrast and to lighten up darker areas with its light-reflective leaves.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Variegated Silverberry, Variegated Oleaster, Spotted Elaeagnus, Gold-dust Plant.

    • Common names

      Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata') is not widely known to be toxic to humans. There is limited information available on the toxicity of this plant when ingested. However, as with many plants, it is always prudent to avoid ingesting parts of ornamental plants as they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions in some individuals. If a person does ingest part of the plant and experiences symptoms, they should seek medical advice.

    • To pets

      Thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata') is also not widely recognized as being toxic to pets. There is little specific information about its toxicity in animals. However, it's generally advisable to prevent pets from eating ornamental plants since they can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. If a pet ingests this plant and shows signs of illness, consultation with a veterinarian is recommended.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Spread

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought tolerance - The plant is able to withstand periods of low water availability, making it suitable for xeriscaping or drought-prone areas.
    • Evergreen foliage - Elaeagnus 'Maculata' retains its leaves throughout the year, providing continuous visual interest and privacy screening.
    • Variegated leaves - The distinct variegation of gold and green on the leaves adds aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes.
    • Hardiness - It is tolerant of a range of soil types and environmental conditions, making it a versatile choice for various locations.
    • Erosion control - The plant's root system helps stabilize soil, reducing erosion on slopes and banks.
    • Wildlife attractant - It produces flowers and fruits that can attract birds and beneficial insects, supporting biodiversity.
    • Low maintenance - Once established, Elaeagnus 'Maculata' requires minimal care, making it ideal for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants.
    • Adaptability - It can be used in a variety of landscape designs, including hedges, screens, and as a standalone focal point.
    • Tolerance of coastal conditions - The plant can tolerate salt spray and wind, making it suitable for seaside gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Elaeagnus 'Maculata' can be used as a source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, supporting local ecosystems and promoting biodiversity.
    • The plant's dense and thorny nature makes it ideal for creating secure, intruder-resistant hedges or barriers.
    • Its attractive variegated foliage can be used in floral arrangements for texture and contrast.
    • The flexible stems of young Elaeagnus 'Maculata' plants can be woven into baskets or other craft items.
    • When pruned properly, it can be shaped into interesting topiary forms for garden decoration.
    • The leaves can be used as a natural dye, providing a subtle color for textiles.
    • Its ability to grow in coastal areas can help stabilize sand dunes and prevent erosion.
    • The strong root system can be beneficial in reclamation projects to help reclaim disturbed soils.
    • Fallen leaves and pruned branches can be composted to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardens.
    • It serves as a shelter and habitat for small birds, which use its dense foliage for nesting and protection from predators.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Thorny Elaeagnus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Thorny Elaeagnus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience – Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata', commonly known as Thorny Elaeagnus or Spotted Oleaster, is a hardy evergreen shrub that can thrive in various conditions, reflecting an ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from challenges.
    • Versatility – This plant can adapt to different environments, symbolizing flexibility and the capability to navigate through diverse situations.
    • Protection – With its spiny branches, Thorny Elaeagnus can represent safeguarding oneself or others from harm, much like a natural barrier.
    • Attraction – The variegated leaves, often with bright yellow spots, symbolize attraction or drawing attention, perhaps suggesting qualities of uniqueness or charisma.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Silverthorn should be watered regularly, with a deeper watering every week which can be around 1-2 gallons depending on the size of the plant and the weather conditions. During hot or dry periods, it may require additional water. Ensure the soil is well-draining and allow it to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it's important not to let the plant sit in waterlogged soil.

  • sunLight

    The Silverthorn thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day. However, it can also adapt to areas with dappled sunlight or light shade, making it versatile for different garden settings.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Silverthorn is hardy and can tolerate a temperature range from about 0 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal growing temperatures for the plant are between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's essential to protect the plant from frost, as extreme cold can damage or possibly kill it.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Silverthorn to maintain its shape and size, remove dead or damaged branches, and promote airflow within the plant. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring before new growth begins. It does not require frequent pruning, but light trimming can be done throughout the year as needed.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For the Spotted Elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'), a well-draining soil mix with loamy or sandy characteristics is ideal. To achieve this, combine two parts loam to one part sand and one part organic compost. The pH level this plant thrives in is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, around 6.0 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Spotted Elaeagnus should be repotted every two to three years to ensure it has enough room for growth and to refresh the soil. The best time to repot is in the spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Spotted Elaeagnus is quite adaptable and does not require high humidity levels; it thrives in average room humidity. Keeping it between 40%-60% will be beneficial for the plant's health.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and water when soil is dry.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil, full sun to partial shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata', commonly known as Variegated Silverthorn, begins its life as a seed, which requires scarification to break dormancy and germinate, typically in spring under natural conditions. The seedling stage follows, characterized by the initial tender roots and shoots that emerge and establish themselves into juvenile plants. As the plant matures, it enters the vegetative stage, producing leathery, variegated leaves with silvery scales and developing a robust root system. The plant continues to grow and eventually reaches the reproductive stage, where it produces small, fragrant, silvery-white flowers in the fall, often leading to cross-pollination with the help of insects. Following pollination, the plant develops small, olive-like fruits, which mature to a reddish color containing seeds for propagation. Variegated Silverthorn can then enter a period of dormancy during colder months, only to resume growth when favorable conditions return in the next growing season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • For the plant commonly known as Spotted Elaeagnus, softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer are the most popular method of propagation. This involves cutting a young, healthy, non-flowering stem of about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in length, with at least three sets of leaves. The bottom set of leaves should be removed, and the cut end dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. This prepared cutting should then be placed in a pot filled with a mixture of peat and perlite or sand, ensuring that at least two nodes are buried where leaves were removed. The pot should be covered with plastic to maintain high humidity and placed in indirect light. Cuttings typically root in 4 to 8 weeks, at which point they can be gradually acclimated to less humidity before eventually being transplanted outdoors.