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Osmanthus fragrans Lour.

Family Name: Oleaceae
Synonyms: Olea frangrans
Common Name: Fragrant Olive, Sweet Tea, Sweet Olive, 桂花
Full Sun Moderate Water Herb or Spice Fragrant Plant Shrub Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Name Status (wrt SBG BG-BASE)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 6 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2.5 m


Native Distribution East Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An evergreen or large woody shrub with an upright growth. 
Foliage The simple leaves are glabrous and elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate in shape and are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. 
Flowers The small, white flowers are borne on cymes, clustered in the leaf axils and have a very strong fragrance of ripe apricots.  
Fruits The fruit is in the form of a purple-black drupe.
Cultivation It is ideally grown under full sun to partial shade and is best grown in moist, well-drained and acidic soil but tolerates heavy clay soils. It is drought-tolerant once established and may be grown as a small tree or shrub. 
Etymology The genus name 'Osmanthus' is derived from the Greek word 'osma' meaning fragrant and 'anthos' which means flower. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Flowers)
Food (Herb and Spice : The flowers are used in China to infuse with black or green tea to created a scented tea called guì huā chá (桂花茶). )
Medicinal ( It is used by the Chinese as a medicinal plant as protection against coughs and is used to flavour other medicines. )

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Fragrant

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Margin Serrulate

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black, Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 993
Species ID 5290
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.