Herb: Holly Olive

Latin name: Osmanthus heterophyllus

Synonyms: Ilex heterophyllus, Olea illicifolia, Osmanthus aquifolium, Osmanthus illicifolius

Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)

Description of the plant:


4 m
(13 feet)

to October


Habitat of Holly Olive:

In evergreen forests from the lowlands to elevations of 600 metres.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant takes kindly to pruning and makes a dense hedge or screen. Any trimming is best carried out in mid-summer. Wood. Used for small furniture, toys etc.

Propagation of Holly 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:

In evergreen forests from the lowlands to elevations of 600 metres.

Medicinal use of Holly Olive:

None known

Known hazards of Osmanthus heterophyllus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.