sweet olive

Noticed in front of a neighbor’s condo on Ramona St. in Palo Alto, a neatly trimmed hedge (about 30 inches high) of a plant that had just come into bloom. Looking a lot like this:

The shrub still had a label on it, saying it was sweet olive. Unlike Russian-olive (posted about here), which is neither Russian nor an olive, sweet olive is in fact in the olive family, the Oleaceae.

From Wikipedia:

Osmanthus fragrans …, variously known as sweet osmanthus, sweet olive, tea olive, and fragrant olive, is a species native to Asia from the Himalayas through southern China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan) to Taiwan and southern Japan and southeast Asia as far south as Cambodia and Thailand.

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.

It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens in Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere in the world for its deliciously fragrant flowers which carry the scent of ripe peaches or apricots.

Nice plant to have in the neighborhood.

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