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Osmanthus

Osmanthus


Dear Friends,

I hope that many of you have had the opportunity to enhale the heady aroma of fresh osmanthus flowers, one of the true delights of the earth plane. The tiny inconspicous flowers of this delightful plant bloom in the fall months and fill the air with a rare perfume that surrounds one and penetrates deep into the heart. On the Filoli Estate where I worked for almost a decade we had a golden flowered osmanthus growing in a large bed of Chinese Tree Peonies which never failed to delight one with its intoxicating aroma on a crisp autumn day. I hope that you will enjoy this article which is written in honor of this wonderful tree and the ethereal concrete and absolute prepared from its flowers.

Viewing the Mid-Autumn Moon Wang Jian
In the moonlit courtyard crows are nesting in the trees;
Osmanthus flowers soundlessly are dampened by the dew.
Tonight's the night that all will view the brightness of the moon:
Upon whose homes will autumn sadness linger*.
http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~yanxia/photo_moon.html

Legend says that in ancient times the Emperor held ceremonies to offer sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Later, the rites became prevalent among the common people. According to the book Nianjie Quhua "Amusing Stories about the Festivals", during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) Emperor Xuanzong's travel to the Moon Palace added to the festival's charm and importance. It is said that during a midautumn evening, while the Emperor was enjoying the moonlight, a magic Taoist priest named Luo Gongyuan invited him to visit the Moon Palace. Luo threw his stick into air, immediately, a silver bridge from the heavens stretched before them. Across the bridge, there was a magnificent palace before them. A plaque above the gate read "Guanghangong (Vast and Cold Palace)". By the gate stood a tall, sweet-scented osmanthus tree and a white rabbit standing under the tree mixing a medicine for eternal life. As the Emperor entered thegate, grotesque mountains and exquisite jade buildings fascinated him. Hundreds of beautifully-dresses dancing maidens surrounded him accompanied by melodious music and entertaining him with delicious cakes shaped like the full moon. Upon returning to the earth, the Emperor ordered cakes modeled after his vision.
http://www.travel10k.com/english/kaleidoscope/midau.asp

Description of Osmanthus
Techical Description (from Flora of China):
Shrubs to small trees, evergreen. Leaves opposite, simple, petiolate; leaf blade entire or serrate, usually glandular dotted. Inflorescences cymose, fascicled in leaf axils or in very short and axillary or terminal panicles; bracts 2, united at base, usually ciliate. Flowers bisexual, usually becoming unisexual and plants dioecious or androdioecious. Calyx campanulate, 4-lobed. Corolla usually white or yellowish, campanulate, cylindric, or urceolate, lobed, parted, or divided almost to base; lobes 4, imbricate in bud. Stamens 2(-4), mostly attached to upper half of corolla tube; connective usually minutely mucronate, elongated, or projecting. Ovules 2 in each locule, pendulous. Stigma capitate or 2-cleft. Abortive pistil subulate or conical. Fruit a drupe; endocarp hard or bony; endosperm fleshy; radicle erect.
http://www.systbot.gu.se/staff/evawal/oleaceae/osmanthus.html
Simple description:
Broadleaf evergreen tree or shrub with a moderate growth rate. zones: 7 - 9 native to: China size:10-20' tall by 10-20' wide; 30' max. notes: Size is smaller in colder areas. Leaves: color: glossy dark green size: 2-4" shape: simple notes: Leaves may burn in strong sun. Flowers: color: white season: variable size and type: cyme notes: Really fragrant. Fragrance can be smelled from a distance. Smells a bit like apricot. Most fragrant of the Osmanthus. Flowers usually hidden by foliage. Fruit: color: dark blue size: 0.5" type: drupe

Images-
http://www.huis.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/~nomura/K/kinmok.html
flower and leaf
http://www.hortpix.com/pc2992.htm
tree
http://www.gartendatenbank.de/bilder/osmanth.htm
wonderful image of flowers and leaves
http://www.floridata.com/ref/o/osm_frag.cfm
nice images and plant description
http://www.naturaline-nature.ch/artikel/descript/a142b.htm
beautiful image of golden osmanthus
http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/carr/images/osm_fra.jpg
superb close up of the flowers

Ethnobotany
Edible Uses
Condiment; Fruit.
The unripe fruits are preserved in brine like olives[183]. 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[2, 46, 61, 183]. They are also added to herbal medicines in order to disguise obnoxious flavours[178]. The flowers have a scent of apricots[146].

Other Uses
Essential; Repellent. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers[178]. Used as a flavouring. The flowers are used as an insect repellent for clothes[146].
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Osmanthus+fragrans

Osmanthus Guangxi Guihua Tea In the Yangtze River Valley and in many places in the south, for over two thousand years, the Chinese have cultivated
a fragrant evergreen shrub known as sweet osmanthus. Also known as "sweet olive" or "fragrant tea olive", the osmanthus plant produces tiny white flowers that are exceedingly fragrant. The osmanthus is one of the ten famous traditional flowers of China. For hundreds of years the city of Hangzhou has had a festival where people gather to appreciate the osmanthus while tasting foods made with osmanthus and performing popular songs and dances. Both the blossoms and the leaves of this plant are highly aromatic and are used in the production of some of the world's rarest and most expensive perfumes. Fortunately for tea lovers, the Chinese discovered that the osmanthus can also be used to enhance the natural fruitiness of some of their finest green and black teas. The result is similar to fine jasmine tea but lighter and much fruitier. In Guangxi province in the city of Guilin, especially along the Lijiang River, the osmanthus bush is common and plentiful. There the leaves from the osmanthus are sometimes mixed in with partially fermented green tea to produce a lovely aromatic tea. For flowery "hua" tea, crushed osmanthus blossoms are added to black tea to produce the delightful Guangxi Guihua. The allure of Osmanthus tea can be powerful in the afternoon or evening and is perfect for those times when you want something seductive yet satisfying. Great with dessert.
http://www.stashtea.com/w-111006.htm

Sweet Scented Osmanthus Rain at Manjuelong Valley
Manjuelong lies in the mountainous area south of the West Lake. Buddhist temples used to stand in the valley during the Wu and Yue Kingdoms Period. The monks planted sweet-scented osmanthus in the valley. As time went on, the osmanthus in blossom in the valley became an autumnal allure to Hangzhou residents The valley is flanked by hills where springs are abundant and trees flourish naturally. The geographic advantages and monk's heritage has made the valley a paradise of osmanthus trees. Villagers have been living on osmanthus flowers from generation to generation since the Ming Dynasty. Now all households in the valley without exception have their own osmanthus groves. Osmanthus trees can been seen everywhere in the valley. They are in front of or behind farmers' houses, inside and outside of the village, along both sides of the road, and all over the sloping hills. When the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival approaches, osmanthus trees begin to blossom after the sun, breezes and rains combine their wonders together and give the trees autumnal feelings. The sweet fragrance can be wafted miles and miles away, gladdening tourists' hearts and refreshing their minds. When dew is heavy at dawn, flowers will fall floating like a rain in a breeze. Strolling through the osmanthus trees at such a rainy moment, one can enjoy the osmanthus rain and its aroma. Such an experience could be quite unique. Sweet-scented osmanthus is Hangzhou's city flower. The flower has four different colors and is known separately as golden, silver, orange, and four season osmanthus. The Osmanthus Festival is now an annual occurrence after the valley was listed as one of the top ten new scenic spots around the West Lake in 1985. A visit to the osmanthus valley in the autumn has become a must for tourists and local residents.
http://www.hzwestlake.com/mlgye.htm

Osmanthus Absolute
Physical description-olive green viscous liquid
Olfactory description-very rich sweet, ethereal floral fruit bouquet. The fruity notes are a bouquet in themselves as they partake of apricot, plum and raisins. In combination with the intensely sweet floral notes one has a most exotic perfume The strength and tenacity of the absolute is superb lasting well on the perfume blotter even after 24 hours. This is a very heady fragrance

http://www.leffingwell.com/osmanthus.htm
superb detailed gc of Osmanthus absolute. This type of gc is rarely seen. It requires very sophisticated equipment and a superb database for this type of readout.

SHANGHAI SWEET OSMANTHUS FESTIVAL
Shanghai Sweet Osmanthus Festival is held every year in the 8th lunar month, in Guilin Park at a time when the sweet osmanthus blossoms are in full bloom. The sweet osmanthus is one of the 10 famous flowers in China. Its refreshing fragrance floats in the air, far and wide, and is much beloved by people. In Guilin Park, different species of sweet osmanthus are grown, like the golden and the silvery osmanthus. Under a sunny autumn sky the blossoms attract crowds of visitors. While appreciating the flowers they can also enjoy the open air movie, art performances, karaoke, mask ball and fashion show. On Guilin Road there is a Sweet Osmanthus Village with bamboo fences and thatched cottages,entertaining guests with the fragrance of wine in an antique and unsophisticated environment.
http://www.shanghai-rr.com/e-shrr/sightseeing/folk/main-2.htm

Osmanthus Flower-Stuffed Small Yuanxiao and Five-Colored Small Cakes from the Lianhu Cake and Dumpling Restaurant Stuffed
small yuanxiao is one of Nanjing's traditional sweet foods. The filling is made by mixing five kinds of kernels, ground sesame seeds, minced osmanthus flowers and sugar. After mixing well it is pressed into a cake, then cut into cubes. These cubes are put into a square-bottomed bamboo basket, sprinkled with a little water, before flour is added made of a glutinous rice. The basket is rocked so that the four evenly coats the cubes, which should become small stuffed balls. Next, boil the balls in water, adding sugar and osmanthus flowers. The yuanxiao will become as white as jade, and the fragrance of osmanthus flower will make your mouth water. Five-colored small rice cakes come in five shapes and five varieties. The cakes are small and exquisite, soft and sweet, as well as being suitable for both adults and children.
http://www.chinavista.com/experience/nanjing/food.html

http://www.ironboat.com/travel/jsjs/jsxlsg.htm
osmanthus flowers in china
http://www.tuttocina.it/Filatelia/SerieAnno/1995/1995_06.htm
osmanthus stamps