wrote about sweet olive previously, but this time i’d like to introduce a local common term – kwai fah. like the sound of it, as it is how it pronounces in cantonese; but more because its sound is resonancing the subtle sweetness of the flowers.
it is now the blooming season of kwai fah. many gardens and parks in the city are planted with this evergreen tree and the perfume will lead you to them.
the tree has a common look but not without character. it has glossy dark green leaves that are finely-toothed. and of course one cannot miss it during blooming seasons. in hong kong kwai-fah flowers in spring as well as autumn. the strongly fragrant blooms are small and creamy-white. they are four-petalled and are borne in stalked clusters. i love the shape of the petals as well as the crown. they are like pearl gentle and precious.
桂花 kwai fah / fragrant olive (osmanthus fragrans) – 玄參目 scrophulariales order | 木犀科 oleaceae family | 木犀亞科 oleoideae subfamily | 木犀欖族 oleeae tribe | 木犀屬 osmanthus genus | species 種: 桂花 o. fragrans 《互動百科》
- 陳志歲《桂花》詩雲：“瑤樹靜當嚴序來，百花殺後此花開。清貞更造清芬境，大地蕭條賴挽回。” 《互動百科》
- the generic name osmanthus comes from the greek osma, meaning fragrant, and anthos, meaning flower.
- fragrant olive has been cultivated in china for about 2,500 years, and is still of importance there today, the flowers being widely used to flavour tea, wine and sweets, as well as an ingredient in herbal medicine. the city of guilin.
- native from the himalaya (where it is found at 1,200–3,000 m above sea level) to china, indochina and south japan: also commonly cultivated in china, taiwan and south japan. kew.org
前文 earlier post – 《桂花 sweet olive》