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Holly Osmanthus Osmanthus heterophyllus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
oz-MAN-thus het-er-oh-FIL-us
Description

False Holly is a large, dense, upright, oval-rounded evergreen shrub that grows 15' tall. This plant blooms in the late fall and has inconspicuous flowers that are highly aromatic and pungently sweet. Fruit ripens the year after it is produced, but it rarely seen in cultivation and is not showy. Leaves in the upper part of the plant (adult morphology leaves) are entire, while those in the lower part tend to be toothed (juvenile morphology). O.X fortunei has broader and larger leaves with more numerous and evenly spaced spines. Leaves on False Holly look like Ilex aquipernyi, but False Holly is alternate-leaves. This plant is used in hedges, screens, foundations, barriers, or as a specimen plant. This plant prefers partial shade to full sun. It likes moist, well-drained, acidic soils and it tolerant of alkaline soils, pollution, drought, heat, and urban areas. It has a slow growth rate and withstands heavy pruning. It is easily transplanted and has no serious pest or disease problems. 

Wildlife Value: Particularly resistant to damage by deer.

Form: Dense, upright, oval to rounded shrub

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are opposite, decussate, narrow, elliptic, and evergreen
  • Both entire leaves and leaves with 1-4 spiny teeth
  • Very fragrant, white, inconspicuous axillary fall flowers

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Goshiki' - green and gold variegated
  • 'Illicifolius'
    juvenile form with prominent lobed spines
  • 'Myrtifolius'
    adult form, all leaves elliptic, entire, and only a terminal spine
  • 'Rotundifolius'
    slow growing dwarf form with remnants of lobed spines, less cold hardy, margins have blunt bumps
  • 'Variegatus'
    leaves are green with creamy white margins
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#fall flowers#cpp#deer resistant#screening#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Goshiki' - green and gold variegated
  • 'Illicifolius'
    juvenile form with prominent lobed spines
  • 'Myrtifolius'
    adult form, all leaves elliptic, entire, and only a terminal spine
  • 'Rotundifolius'
    slow growing dwarf form with remnants of lobed spines, less cold hardy, margins have blunt bumps
  • 'Variegatus'
    leaves are green with creamy white margins
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#fall flowers#cpp#deer resistant#screening#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Osmanthus
    Species:
    heterophyllus
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 21 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    This plant produces fruit that is an ovoid, bluish purple-black to black drupe less than an inch in size that is seldom seen in cultivation.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, fragrant, and are less than an inch in diameter. They have a 4-toothed calyx. Corolla's are campanulate and 4-lobed (lobes are reflexed). There are 2 yellow stamens per flower. Flowers bloom in the fall. Inflorescence is a short, axillary cyme.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, decussate, simple, coriaceous, elliptic to elliptic-oblong, acuminate-spinose, cuneate to broadly cuneate, entire or with 1-4 pairs of prominent triangular lobes bearing a spine. They are lustrous dark green above, yellow-green and reticulate beneath. Leaves are glabrous, to 1-2" long and 1-2" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are light gray to tan with numerous, extremely small raised lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Pollution
    Urban Conditions