Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Osmanthus × fortunei a shape shifter

In the image above are two branches taken from the same plant of Osmanthus × fortunei. The branch in the foreground, with spiny, holly-like foliage, is the form typically seen in nurseries. But after the plant becomes established in the garden, something interesting happens: it begins to produce branches whose leaves lack the spines and have a more rounded form. Typically this change takes place in the uppermost branches only: the lower ones retain the spiny leaves.

This also happens in Osmanthus heterophyllus, one of the parents of the hybrid Osmanthus × fortunei.

This name Osmanthus × fortunei is the name for all hybrids of the given parentage. Had the name been written Osmanthus 'Fortunei' , that would have indicated a particular clone or cultivar, which is not the case here. If the form I grow has a cultivar name, I'm not aware of it.  

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