Sounds delicious? Not!!!!! Recently I was commenting to Perennial Gardener Lover about my tea olive and she wanted to hear more about it so here goes.
This is a great evergreen shrub that can get quite big. So when planting, one needs to take into consideration the size. Mine probably get 5-6 hours of sun a day.
Pictured are actually two of these shrubs on both sides of my sidewalk. These are probably 2 or 3 years old. I'm not sure how big they were when originally planted because they were already here when we moved in.
The botanical is Osmanthus fragrans. It can grow up to 20' or more with a width of 6-8' wide. As I said, it is an evergreen with very stiff leaves. Sometimes people are fooled into thinking this is a holly. But this particular varieties leaf edges are fairly smooth.
Besides it being evergreen another great feature is it has the most wonderful, fragrant blooms. It usually blooms spring and fall. The blooms are tiny but really pack a punch!
There are a couple more varieties that I don't have pictures of but they are Osmanthus fortunei and Osmanthus heterophyllus.
The fortunei has jagged leaf margins which really makes it look like a holly. It doesn't bloom as well as the fragrans and gets probably about the same size.
The herophyllus has jagged leaf margins as well but is variegated. I'm not sure about how well it blooms. It only grows 8-10' tall.
So if you are looking for a great evergreen shrub for a large area I highly recommend this one.