Osmanthus heterophyllus1.jpg
Osmanthus heterophyllus in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Unranked: Angiosperms
Unranked: Eudicots
Unranked: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Tribe: Oleeae
Genus: Osmanthus

About 30 species; see text.

Osmanthus [1] is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Oleaceae, mostly native to warm temperate Asia (from the Caucasus east to Japan) but one species (O. americanus) occurring in North America (southeastern United States, Texas to Virginia). It is sometimes included in Nestegis. They range in size from shrubs to small trees, 2-12 m tall. The leaves are opposite, evergreen, and simple, with an entire, serrated or coarsely toothed margin. The flowers are produced in spring, summer or autumn, each flower being about 1 cm long, white, with a four-lobed tubular-based corolla ('petals'). The flowers grow in small panicles, and in several species have a strong fragrance. The fruit is a small (10-15 mm), hard-skinned dark blue to purple drupe containing a single seed.

Selected species
Garden hybrids
  • Osmanthus × burkwoodii (O. delavayi × O. decorus)
  • Osmanthus × fortunei (O. fragrans × O. heterophyllus)

Cultivation and usesEdit

Osmanthus are popular shrubs in parks and gardens throughout the warm temperate zone. Several hybrids and cultivars have been developed. In China, osmanthus tea (Template:Zh) is produced by combining dried Sweet Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) flowers (Template:Zh) with black or green tea leaves in much the same manner the more familiar jasmine tea combines jasmine flowers with tea leaves. Chinese osmanthus is a major ingredient in Jean Patou's "1000", the world's most expensive perfume.

Osmanthus flower on old wood, and produce more flowers if unpruned. If pruned, the plant responds by producing fast-growing young vegetative growth with no flowers, in an attempt to restore the removed branches; a pruned shrub often produces few or no flowers for one to five or more years, before the new growth matures sufficiently to start flowering.

Osmanthus decorus

Osmanthus decorus

References Edit

  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607

In 2003, the perfume house Ormonde Jayne launched Osmanthus Absolute, the first perfume built on the single note of osmanthus

External links Edit