Osmanthus heterophyllus
Common name: 
Holly Osmanthus
Holly-leaf Osmanthus
Holly Tea Olive
oz-MAN-thus het-er-o-FIL-us
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen shrub, 8-10(20) ft, [2.4-3(6) m], dense, upright oval.  Leaves opposite, simple: may be juvenile (lower) holly-type with spiny teeth or adult (upper), which are simple, elliptic or ovate, 4-6 cm long, leathery, lustrous dark green above, yellowish green below.  Mature specimen may have mostly adult leaves.  Flowers, small, 6 mm across, white, fragrant, in leaf axils in autumn.   Fruit not usually produced in cultivation, slender, ovoid, 1 cm long, bluish-purple to black.
  • Sun to part shade; prefers fertile, moist, well drained, acid soil, but tolerates higher pH soils.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (6)7,  varies with cultivar.     Native to Japan
  • A number of cultivars, including:
    • ‘Goshiki’  -  new growth pinkish bronze, spiny mature leaves have a mixture of green, gold, and cream areas; grows to 5 ft high and 4 feet wide; listed as hardy to Zone 6.
    • ‘Gulftide’  -  plant upright, dense, 10-15 ft (3-4.5 m) tall, slightly less width; leaves glossy dark green, spiny, but less so with maturity.
    • ‘Ilicifolius’  -  O. ilicifolius is sometimes listed as a synonym of O. heterophyllus, but apparently a distinct cultivar is also available under this name; it is a bushy shrub with leaves that are deep green, glossy, and about 5 cm long; new growth is bronze.
    • 'Kembu'  -  upright, variegated, slow growing, reportedly fewer thorns than many other cultivars.
    • 'Ogon'  -  new leaves bright, waxy yellow, becoming chartreuse by midsummer  dark green the next season.
    • ‘Purpureus’  -  leaves dark purple when new, mature to green with a purple cast; considered one of the hardiest forms.
    • ‘Rotundifolius’  -  slow growing dwarf, to 10 ft (3 m), bushy; leaves small, rounded, spineless.
    • 'Sasaba'  -  upright, open habit, leaves are deeply cut and forming stiff, sharp triangular lobes, dark green color with light green veins.
    • ‘Variegatus’  -  slow growing, after many year 8-10 (2.5-3 m) ft tall, dense; leaves green edged in creamy white, spiny; less hardy, Zone 7.
  • Osmanthus: from Greek osme, fragrance, and anthos, flowers.    heterophyllus: with variable leaves
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • leaves, adult

    leaves, adult

  • leaves, juvenile

    leaves, juvenile

  • leafy shoots

    leafy shoots

  • plant habit, fall flowering

    plant habit, fall flowering

  • flowering branches and flowers

    flowering branches and flowers

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit