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Osmanthus fragrans

Common Name:
Sweet olive
Plant Type:
Evergreen shrub
Oleaceae (The Olive Family)
Geographic Origin:
China and Taiwan
California Native?:
Plant Size:
8-15 feet high
Landscape/Garden Uses:
Foundation plantings
Flowering Season:
Spring and summer
Flower Color:
Sun or light shade
Most soils
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 15 degrees F. or less
This is an exceedingly variable shrub--or even small tree--growing from 8 feet to over 30 feet high. It has bright green, glossy leaves up to 6 inches long, broadly to narrowly pointed-oval in outline. Small clusters of sweetly fragrant, usually cream-colored flowers, each under a half inch long, are borne in the leaf axils in summer. Sun or light shade, most soils, moderate watering. Hardy to around 15 degrees F., though the new shoots which appear through the winter may be badly burned by hard frosts.