Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Osmanthus americanus (L.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex A. Gray
American Olive, Devilwood, Wild Olive
Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Synonym(s): Cartrema americana
USDA Symbol: OSAM
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: 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 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.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Osmanthus americanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Osmanthus americanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Osmanthus americanus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-07
Research By: TWC Staff