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Burkwood Osmanthus Osmanthus x burkwoodii

Previously known as:

  • x Osmarea burkwoodii
Phonetic Spelling
oz-MAN-thus berk-WOOD-e-i
Description

Burkwood osmanthus is an Asian hybrid evergreen shrub or small tree in the Oleaceae or olive family.  The parents of this plant are the Chinese Osmanthus delavayi and the Turkish Osmanthus decorus. It is a dense, slow-growing, and large shrub that has dark green semi-glossy leaves, and clusters of small fragrant flowers in the spring. It seldom produces fruits, but if seen they are small, oval, blue to purplish-black drupes. With a tall and dense growth habit, Burkwood osmanthus reaches up to 8 feet tall and is equally as wide.  Zones 6 to 8 are ideal for planting, though this shrub will grow slowly even under perfect conditions.  

The genus name is derived from the Greek osme, meaning fragrance, and anthos, meaning flowers. Burkwoodii refers to Burkwood and Shipwith which is an English nursery where the hybrid was created, 

Locate this shrub in an area with average well-drained soils anywhere from full sun to partial shade, though flower production is best in full sun. While it will not tolerate wet feet, it does appreciate supplemental irrigation. It tolerates heavy clay, alkaline soils, pollution, shade, and drought.

Blooms of tubular white flowers with four lobes appear in the axils of leaves in spring. While the flowers are somewhat inconspicuous, they are highly aromatic with a fragrance reminiscent of vanilla. Flowers appear on last season's wood in the spring; therefore, it is best to prune directly after flowering. Blue to purplish black fruits may follow the flowers in the fall. With dark green semi-glossy leathery evergreen leaves, this shrub has year-round interest.   

Utilize this easy-to-grow, low-maintenance shrub as a screening hedge or as a specimen plant in a sensory garden. It is also ideal for a woodland setting. An excellent choice for that difficult dry shade corner of the landscape. Deer browsing is almost nonexistent for this plant.  

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Spring          Foliage:  Year-round         Fruits: Fall (rarely seen)

Quick ID Hints:

  • Two types of leaves, serrulate and entire
  • Opposite leaves
  • Lenticels on the stems
  • Fragrant, inconspicuous flowers in spring
  • Evergreen shrub with decussate leaf arrangement

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious pest and disease problems.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Duchess of Albany'
  • 'Etoile Violette'
'Duchess of Albany', 'Etoile Violette'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#easy to grow#slow growing#shade garden#tubular flowers#low maintenance#spring flowers#air pollution tolerant#year-round interest#hedges#deer resistant#glossy leaves#blue fruits#spring interest#alkaline soils tolerant#screening#black fruits#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#sensory garden#clay soils tolerant#wet soils intolerant#dry shade#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Duchess of Albany'
  • 'Etoile Violette'
'Duchess of Albany', 'Etoile Violette'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#easy to grow#slow growing#shade garden#tubular flowers#low maintenance#spring flowers#air pollution tolerant#year-round interest#hedges#deer resistant#glossy leaves#blue fruits#spring interest#alkaline soils tolerant#screening#black fruits#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#sensory garden#clay soils tolerant#wet soils intolerant#dry shade#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Osmanthus
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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 Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are an ovoid bluish purple-black to black drupe that are seldom seen in cultivation.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, 4-lobed, fragrant, less than an inch in size, and have 2 yellow stamens. Inflorescence is a short cyme in leaf axils.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, decussate, simple, ovate to elliptic, narrow acute apex, cuneate base, and have serrulate marginal teeth (mature leaves tend to be entire). Leaves are matte dark green above and paler beneath. They are glabrous and 1-1.5" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are squarish, green, and have numerous lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Pollution