Chimonanthus praecox
Common name: 
Fragrant Wintersweet
ky-mon-ANTH-us PRE-koks (PRAY-koks)
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous shrub, large, 10-15 ft (3-4.5 m) high, with a somewhat narrower width, multistemmed.  Leaves opposite, simple, glossy dark green, 7.5-18 cm long, elliptic-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, rough to the touch, entire.   Flowers waxy-yellow on the outside to purplish inside, about 2-2.5 cm across, very fragrant, opening in winter over many weeks, the length depending on the weather. The fruit is an elliptic, dry, brown capsuile, 3–4 cm long.
  • Sun or partial shade, requires well-drained soil, but adaptable to many soils.  Should be pruned annually in late winter to remove old wood, prune to a foot or less to rejuvenate large plants.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (6) 7      Native to China, introduced into England in 1766.
  • chimonanthus: from the Greek, cheimon, winter and, anthus, flower      praecox: very early
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: inner courtyard of Cordley Hall, southeast corner.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, winter flowering

    plant habit, winter flowering

  • flowers, winter

    flowers, winter

  • developing fruit

    developing fruit

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • leafy shoot

    leafy shoot

  • leaves


  • mature fruit and leaves

    mature fruit and leaves

  • twig and buds, winter

    twig and buds, winter