Tea Olive. Fragrant Olive
Osmanthus fragrans Lour. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this member of the Osmanthus genera. The genus and species were named and described as such by João de Loureiro in Flora Cochinchinensis in 1790. The genus was also named by the same man.
As of 12-4-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 28 species in the Osmanthus genus. It is a member of the plant family Oleaceae with 28 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
Osmanthus fragrans has scented flowers that have been used in China for about 2,500 years to flavor tea, wine, and sweets. It is also an ingredient in herbal medicine.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
This plant was one of several shipped to us while living at the mansion in Mississippi by mistake. It did very well for several years but it died I think in 2012. It flowered several times but all those photos were blurry. The Osmanthus fragrans makes a nice tree for pots as it stays fairly small.
Origin: China, Himalayas, Japan.
Zones: USDA Zones 7b-11 (5 to 40° F).
Size: 10-15 feet tall PLUS but can be kept smaller.
Light: Sun to part shade. Prefers afternoon shade in hot climates.
Soil: Prefers well-drained, consistently moist soil.
Water: Average water needs, drought tolerant once established.
Flowers: Flowers are fragrant but not attractive.
In its native habitat, the Osmanthus fragrans can grow to a height of around 30’. As a potted specimen or in the ground where hardy, trees can be pruned to be much more compact and bushy.
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