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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Osmanthus americanus (L.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex Gray
Devilwood, Wild olive
USDA Symbol: osam
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
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 USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Wild olive can be liberally pruned to maintain shape.
PropagationDescription: Wild olive may be rooted from late winter cuttings using a hormone or increased by division of shoots.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MS
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Record Modified: 2009-02-18
Research By: TWC Staff