Herb: Fragrant Olive


Latin name: Osmanthus fragrans


Synonyms: Olea fragrans


Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)



Medicinal use of Fragrant Olive:

The flowers are antitussive. They are used in cosmetics for the hair and skin, but are mostly used to flavour other medicines. A decoction of the stem bark is used in the treatment of boils, carbuncles etc. A past made from the stem or bark is used in the treatment of boils, carbuncles, whoping cough and retinitis. A decoction of the lateral roots is used in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea, rheumatism, bruises etc.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
6 m
(20 feet)

Flovering:
June to
August


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Mountains of S. Japan. 1200 - 2100 metres in the Himalayas. Forests, in association with Ilex dipyrena and Castanopsis spp, at elevations of 1300 - 3000 metres in Nepal.

Edible parts of Fragrant Olive:

The unripe fruits are preserved in brine like olives. The very fragrant flowers are used by the Chinese to impart a pleasant aroma to tea, wine and sweet dishes such as lotus seed soup, pastries and steamed pears. They are also added to herbal medicines in order to disguise obnoxious flavours. The flowers have a scent of apricots.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. Used as a flavouring. The flowers are used as an insect repellent for clothes.

Propagation of Fragrant Olive:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a coldframe. Stored seed probably germinates best if it is given 3 months warm then 3 months cold stratification before sowing. The seed usually takes 6 - 18 months to germinate, it should be pricked out into individual pots when it is large enough to handle. Grow the plants on for their first winter in the greenhouse and plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood taken at the end of July, in a frame with bottom heat. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 7 - 12cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. A good percentage. Plant out in the spring 18 months later. Layering in spring or autumn. Partially sever the layer leads in the following late summer and plant out in the autumn. High percentage.

Cultivation of the herb:

Mountains of S. Japan. 1200 - 2100 metres in the Himalayas. Forests, in association with Ilex dipyrena and Castanopsis spp, at elevations of 1300 - 3000 metres in Nepal.

Known hazards of Osmanthus fragrans:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.