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Osmanthus yunnanensis (Franch.) P. S. Green

Modern name

Osmanthus yunnanensis (Franch.) P.S.Green


Pittosporum yunnanense Franch.; O. forrestii Rehd.

An evergreen shrub to 30 ft or more high, with a spreading crown; young shoots yellowish grey. Leaves of firm hardish texture, dull green, ovate-lanceolate to oblong, wedge-shaped to rounded or heart-shaped at the base, 3 to 8 in. long, 1 to 214 in. wide, mostly slender-pointed, sometimes quite entire, sometimes conspicuously spiny-toothed, with up to thirty teeth per side, the teeth 18 in. long, glabrous, prominently net-veined and sprinkled thickly with minute black dots on both surfaces; stalk 18 to 38 in. long. Flowers creamy white to pale yellow, sweetly fragrant, produced numerously in clusters from the leaf-axils in spring, each flower on a slender stalk 38 in. long; corolla 38 in. wide, deeply four-lobed; lobes oblong; anthers yellow, attached near the base. Fruits egg-shaped, 12 to 58 in. long, ‘deep blue-purple with a heavy waxy bloom much resembling the ripe fruits of Prinsepia utilis’ (Forrest).

Native of N.W. Yunnan, China; introduced by Forrest in 1923. It occurs at altitudes of 6,000 to 11,000 ft and has proved hardy in a sheltered corner at Kew, but it needs the conditions of the southern and south-western counties to develop its best qualities. It is 20 ft high in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden at Wisley and 30 ft at Exbury on the Solent. At Wayford Manor, Som., there is a specimen 20 ft high and 25 ft in spread. In Cornwall it has attained a height of 39 ft at Caerhays.



Other species in the genus