Osmanthus × fortunei
oz-MAN-thus X for-TU-ne-i
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf evergreen shrub, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) tall, dense, oval rounded. Leaves opposite, simple, 6-10 cm long, leathery, elliptic to ovate, acuminate tip, may have spine-tipped teeth on margins (juvenile) or without marginal spines (adult, usually upper leaves), i.e. entire, lustrous dark green above. [The plants in Corvallis seem to have few juvenile (spiny) leaves.] Flowers small, white, 4-petaled, in clusters of about 10 in axils, very fragrant, not showy since flowers are mostly hidden by the foliage, blooms in late summer and fall. Seldom produces fruit; the selection common in cultivation is a male (Jacobson, 1996).
- Sun to partial shade, prefers acid soils, drought tolerant when established, can be used as a thick hedge.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 An old hybrid between O. heterophyllus and O. fragrans, reportedly introduced to Holland from Japan in 1856 by Siebold. The hybrid was again developed in California and raised in 1934 by the W.B. Clarke nursery of San Jose and introduced into commerce in about 1941. This ‘San Jose’ selection, compared to O × fortunei, has larger flowers, which are creamy-yellow, is shrubbier and less cold hardy (Jacobson, 1996).
- Osmanthus: from Greek osme, fragrance, and anthos, flowers. fortunei: after Robert Fortune who introduced it to England in 1862.
- Corvallis: on the south side of Polk Ave. just west of 9th St. Cistus Nursery (Portland) sells a selection derived from this plant and calls it Osmanthus × fortunei ‘Ninth & Polk’.