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Plants of the UNF Campus

Osmanthus fragrans - Sweet olive, Tea olive
Family Oleaceae


About thirty species of Osmanthus are native to Asia and North America. They are evergreen shrubs and small trees. The sweet olive is native to China and Japan. Flowers are highly fragrant and may be produced from autumn to early spring. In the United States, the most commonly grown forms have white flowers but yellow, orange, and red flowered forms exist. In China, the flowers are sometimes as a flavoring in cooking and for tea.


The photo below was taken in Jiangsu Province, China by Dr. David Creech of the SFA Mast Arboretum, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He describes the tree as twenty feet tall with a crown diameter of twenty-five feet. The largest specimen in China is reported to be forty feet tall and over two thousand years old. Dr. Creech says these large specimens are revered in China.


See plants at the pedestrian circle at building 51.


Generally considered a large shrub to about fifteen feet tall in American gardens. See information below for maximum size.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part shade

Water: well-drained soil, drought tolerant

Soil: well-drained, acidic soil

This is an easy plant to grow in north Florida. The best site is sunny and well-drained.