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Osmanthus x fortunei

Phonetic Spelling
oz-MAN-thus X for-TU-ne-i
Description

Osmanthus x fortunei is a hybrid of Osmanthus fragrans and Osmanthus heterophyllus. It is a large dense, oval-rounded broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree that grows up to 15 to 20 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. This plant blooms in the late summer and fall and has inconspicuous flowers that have a pungently sweet aroma. The leaves are shiny, and dark green, and in the upper part of the plant (adult morphology) the margins are entire, while those in the lower part of the plant tend to be toothed (juvenile morphology). 

This hybrid was first introduced in 1856 to Holland by a German botanist, Philipp Franz von Siebold. The cultivar, 'San Jose,' was later developed in California in 1934 by W.B. Clarke Nursery in San Jose, California, and was introduced in 1941.

The genus name, Osmanthus, comes from two Greek words, osme meaning fragrance, and anthos meaning flowers. The specific epithet, fortunei, is named for Robert Fortune who introduced the plant to England in 1862.

This plant prefers full sun and moist, well-drained, acidic soil. It is tolerant of alkaline soils, pollution, and part-shade. It has a slow growth rate and seldom produces fruits. The plant is deer and rabbit-resistant.

This plant is frequently utilized in hedges, foundations, screens, as a specimen plant, or pruned into a small tree.

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Late Summer and Fall        Foliage: Year-round     Fruits: Winter (seldom occur)

Quick ID Hints:

  • Large evergreen shrub or small tree
  • Opposite leaves, both toothed and entire
  • Decussate leaf arrangement
  • Stems have lenticels
  • Juvenile leaf is regularly spine-tipped, triangular teeth
  • Inconspicuous white, fall blooms, highly aromatic

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant has no serious pest or disease problems. Scales and nematodes may be seen, and mushroom root rot may occur if the soil is too wet.

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 landscapes:
Root Sculpture
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Fruitlandii'
    small, delicate flower
  • 'San Jose'
    narrower leaf, finer spines on the leaf margins
'Fruitlandii', 'San Jose'
Tags:
#cultivars#fragrant#evergreen#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#fall flowers#specimen#white flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#fall interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#foundation planting#playground plant#spring interest#acidic soils tolerant#screening#fantz#partial shade tolerant#container plant#landscape plant sleuths course#hedge
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Fruitlandii'
    small, delicate flower
  • 'San Jose'
    narrower leaf, finer spines on the leaf margins
'Fruitlandii', 'San Jose'
Tags:
#cultivars#fragrant#evergreen#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#fall flowers#specimen#white flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#fall interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#foundation planting#playground plant#spring interest#acidic soils tolerant#screening#fantz#partial shade tolerant#container plant#landscape plant sleuths course#hedge
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Osmanthus
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer resistant, drought tolerant, and slightly salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Oval
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    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 Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    This hybrid seldom produces fruits. If fruits are produced, they are ovoid bluish purple-black to black drupes that are less than 1/2" in size.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are small, white, four-petaled or lobed, less than a 1-inch in diameter, and have 2 yellow stamens. They appear in clusters of 10 in the leaf axils and are often hidden in the foliage. The flowers are fragrant but not showy, and they bloom in the late summer and fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, decussate, simple, leathery, lustrous, coriaceous, oval to broadly elliptic, acuminate apex, and have 9-12 marginal, triangular teeth on each side with a small spine or entire (on mature adult leaves). Leaves are dark green above and paler beneath. They are glabrous, 2-4 inches long, and 1.5-2 inches wide.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Some branches are gray.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are squarish, and gray, and have numerous brown lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Rabbits
    Salt