Nobel Lady of Qiannan Osmanthus. I truly believe that his cultivar of Osmanthus has to be one of the most incredible selections that we have ever introduced. This Chinese cultivar of Osmanthus fragrans flushes in the spring with bright pink new growth, similar to Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Shien,' but it is far more showy, since the leaves are so much larger. The leaves then slowly turn to a pale pink and then eventually to almost pure white, then to green. To see a mass of foliage going through this process is truly breath-taking. I have always been fascinated with the translation of the Asian cultivar names that we have received from China and Japan. Of course, this is a Chinese selection. One of our customers just sent me the translation of the cultivar name 'Quinnan Guifei':
Qiannan Guifei: Guifei means Imperial concubine; the term can be used generically for noble lady. Quinnan Guifei can be translated to "Noble Lady of Quinnan" (the place where it was originally cultivated). The name refers to the elegant colors of the leaves.
I really appreciate when customers take their time to share with us these fascinating points of interest. Frankly I believe that this cultivar will be the number one hedge plant in the Deep South once it becomes better known. Back in the 70's and 80's, Redtip Photinia, Photinia fraseri, was sold by the millions because it made a quick hedge, but the Entimosporium leaf-spot, a fungus disease, literally wiped them out. But the flower on Redtip had a malodorous smell. But here with this Osmanthus, we have a plant which is disease resistant, deer resistant (except for tender new growth) and has a heavenly fragrant flower. But even with the fragrance, it's greatest asset is its stunning foliage. It is a very vigorous grower, and it doesn't start to flower until it gets some age on it. The flowers are fragrant white. The new growth in the spring has the deepest pink coloration. Subsequent flushes throughout the growing season will be pink, but not as much as the first flush in the spring. Here is some additional information that we have found about this selection: "'Quinnan Guifei' has new growth which is bright pink, turning white, then green. Selected and bred by Tan Zhi-ming, general manager of Qiannan Magnolia Ecological Forestry Co. Ltd. in Jiangxi Province, China."