Arguably the signature species of this genus is O. delavayi, with small evergreen leaves and incredibly scented white flowers, in early spring. Trees and shrubs, generally good foliage, some holly-like, flowers small, but often in profusion. Well worth growing on their own as specimens, as part of border, with some being suitable as hedging, O. x burkwoodii, O. heterophyllus.

The intensely fragranced flowers of most species are extremely attractive to bumblebees, honeybees and hoverflies in early spring, a time of year when nectar resources are at a premium. They form sometimes dense shrubs, ideal as nesting places for garden birds such as blackbirds and dunnocks.


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