A revision of Elaeagnus L. for mainland China is provided based on field observations and herbarium studies. Forty‐two morphological characters are selected and coded, then the matrix is prepared following cluster analysis. Morphological characters and species delimitation are re‐evaluated resulting in the recognition of 36 species, one subspecies and five varieties in mainland China. Thirteen species names and three variety names are regarded as new synonyms. Species information covers full synonyms, type information, description, taxonomic remarks, distribution range, occupied habitats, examined specimens, relevant illustrations, and references to selected published illustrations and reports. A key for whole species determination is provided. The lectotypification of Elaeagnus magna (Serv.) Rehd. has been designated.