Osmanthus fragrans

(Photo by Hatel Patel)

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Taxonomy (1)

Classification: Angiosperm, dicot
Family: Oleaceae
Common name: Tea olive, fragrant olive, sweet olive

General Information (1,2)

Region of Origin: Asia
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 8-10
Growth Habit: Shrub

  • Size: 20 feet tall
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen 
  • Flowering: Autumn, winter, early spring

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1,2)

  • Arrangement: Opposite
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Oblong, lanceolate, elliptic
  • Other: Leathery

(Photo by Hatel Patel)

Stem/Bark (3)

  • Color: Brown

(Photo by Hatel Patel)

Flower (1)

  • Color: White
  • Size: 1/4 inch

(Photo by Hatel Patel)

Fruit (3)

  • Fruit type: Drupe
  • Size: 3/8 inch
  • Color: Black

Horticultural Information (1)

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maintenance: Easy to care for
  • Landscape Uses: Foundation plantings and accents
  • Other: Very fragrant

Interesting Facts (1)

  • Tea olive has fragrant flowers that smell a lot like a fringe tree.
  • Tea olive is a traditional element in the southern garden landscape. 


1) Scheper, Jack. (1996).Osmanthus fragrans. Retrieved from http://www.floridata.com/ref/o/osm_frag.cfm
2) Dirr,M.A.(1990). Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. Champaign,Illinois: Stipes Publishing Company.
3) Tea olive. Osmanthus fragrans. Retrieved from http://nassau.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/demogarden/printables/Tea%20Olive.pdf

Prepared by Hatel Patel as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek