The University of Mississippi
Landscape Services Department

Sweet Olive Tree


Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 3–12 m tall. The leaves are 7–15 cm long and 2.6–5 cm broad, with an entire or finely toothed margin. The flowers are white, pale yellow, yellow, or orange-yellow, small (1 cm long), with a four-lobed corolla 5 mm diameter, and have a strong fragrance; they are produced in small clusters in the late summer and autumn. The fruit is a purple-black drupe 10–15 mm long containing a single hard-shelled seed; it is mature in the spring about six months after flowering.

Sweet olive trees thrive in good soil, but are usually adaptable except in cases of extremely low-quality sandy soil. They can be pruned to keep their size down and to promote branching, but pruning is not necessary. The trees require sun with only a minimum amount of shade, and they thrive on either average or high levels of moisture.

 


 

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