Osmanthus can be evergreen shrubs or small trees with leathery, opposite leaves and small, usually fragrant, tubular white, yellow or orange flowers with 4 lobes, followed by ovoid blue-black fruits.

A large, dense, evergreen shrub, ultimately reaching 5m, with holly-like, dark green, leathery leaves with spiny edges, especially on young plants. Small clusters of small, fragrant, tubular, white flowers appear in late summer to autumn, followed by blue-black berries.