Longwood Osmanthus armatus. We have two strains of this species, O. armatus. One was shared with me by a great friend and gardener, Jim Porter of Columbia, SC. Jim had an old plant in his garden which was a female and it seeded all over his garden. Birds love the blue-black berries which closely resemble those of Chionanthus virginicus in the same family Oleaceae. Our plant is a selection from Nat Bradford of Eco Art in Seneca, SC. Nat had one of the coveted internships at Longwood Gardens for a summer while he was a student at Clemson University and collected seed from a plant at the garden which was obviously a female plant. He gave me this seedling which closely resembles 'Jim Porter' but seems to be somewhat more compact. What is unusual about this selection is that it flowered as a seedling when only about 24" tall and the flowering was unusually heavy. Most seedlings take much longer to start flowering. They usually have to grow out of their "juvenile" stage which has prominent spines along its leaf margins. When it reaches its adult phase, the prominent spines become more suppressed. This is also a female or bi-sexual plant which produced blue-black berries the first year it flowered. Michael Dirr mentions several specimens on the U. of Georgia campus, but he said that all of them are male plants. We have planted the seed, which if fertile, would have to have been pollinated by itself or a block of Osmanthus fragrans 'Fodingzhu' which were located next to it and would then be a hybrid between O. fragrans and O. armatus. This species seems to be quite cold hardy because our plant has remained outside for two consecutive winters (our coldest on record) with no protection. Dirr mentions the possibility of it being a zone 6 hardiness. Flora of China records it growing at over 4500' elevation in southeast China.