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Plant of the Month: December 2001
Osmanthus x Fortunei 'San José'
    During the bleak days of late fall and early winter, any plants offering floral fragrance are valuable. Osmanthus is a genus of 15 to 30 species of trees and shrubs in the olive family. All are evergreen; most of the commonly cultivated species bear leaves that are spiny, recalling hollies. The name Osmanthus is from the Greek osme, fragrant, and anthos, a flower, since the flowers are fragrant. Unlike hollies, the leaves are opposite on the twigs. Male and female flowers are usually borne on separate plants. Though the flowers are tiny and may go unseen, they are often abundant, long lasting and sweetly scented. The genus has been represented in cultivation mostly by Osmanthus heterophyllus, a highly variable East Asian species.
    A hybrid between this species and Osmanthus fragrans 'Aurantiacus' is called Osmanthus x Fortunei 'San José' (also called Osmanthus 'San José'). This clone was raised in 1934 by W.B. Clarke nursery of San José, California. It was introduced to commerce by 1941. Its flowers, borne from October into December, are pale orange and richly apricot scented. One twig in a vase of water can fill a room with a heartwarming aroma. It is rare in Seattle, growing as a shade-tolerant very large shrub or small tree. The oldest and largest may be one planted in 1954 at Washington Park Arboretum, more than 20 feet tall. Cuttings from this are sold by Colvos Creek nursery on Vashon Island. Website: (www.colvoscreeknursery.com). Phone: 206 749-9508.

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Osmanthus photo
photo by Lacia Lynne Bailey



Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert
Arthur Lee Jacobson plant expert

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