Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Osmanthus americanus

American Olive, Devilwood, Wild Olive

Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Osmanthus americanus (American olive)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Evergreen shrub or small tree with narrow, oblong crown of paired, glossy, leathery leaves, and with dark blue fruit like small olives. Devilwood or wild olive is an irregularly rounded and open shrub or small tree to 30 ft. with an equal spread. Its long, evergreen leaves are light green and leathery. The small, creamy-white flowers are extremely fragrant and are followed by blue-black fruit which resembles small cherries.

Devilwood was so named because the fine-textured wood is difficult to split and work. The fruit resembles the cultivated Olive in the same family. The genus name, Osmanthus, from the Greek words for odor and flower, refers to the fragrant blossoms.

Image Gallery:

6 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from extreme s.e. VA to FL, w. to LA
Native Habitat: Rich woods; swamps

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Wild olive can be liberally pruned to maintain shape.

Last Update: 2016-06-17