Osmanthus fragrans

Osmanthus fragrans

Osmanthus fragrans is an evergreen shrub hailing from Japan, China and the Himalayas. It belongs to the Oleaceae family of plants, whose members often have very perfumed flowers - others include Jasminum, Syringa (lilac) and Chionanthus. The olive tree (Olea) also belongs to this family. As its name suggests, this Osmanthus (sometimes known as sweet olive) has highly scented flowers, tiny though they are! The clusters of creamy-white flowers appear in autumn and winter (and sometimes at other times of the year) in Sydney. The leaves are large and leathery. The shrub grows to 3 m or more, and can be trained as a small tree or used as a hedge. It grows best in sun or part-shade, with decent, well-drained soil and sufficient water in the growing season. The shrub can be clipped to shape after flowering. It is not really suitable for very cold areas.

Postscript: I eventually removed this shrub from my garden. After 20 years, it had become scruffy and its growth was affected by too many plants growing closely around it. I will miss its fragrant flowers.

Flowers in May, June, July, August.