Wordless Wednesday – Winter’s Headily Fragrant Sarcoccoca

Sarcococca confusa

Sarcococca confusa – tiny white flowers packing a powerful scent, followed by black berries

Sarcoccoca ruscifolia var chinensis

Tiny white flowers and last years red berries still remaining on Sarcoccoca ruscifolia var chinensis

Queen Bee on Sarcoccoca

After her winter hibernation Buff-tailed Queen Bumble Bee dusted in Sarcoccoca pollen seeking nectar.


Sarcoccoca hookeriana var digyna, its tiny white winter flowers providing nectar and pollen for Honey Bees

Packing a powerful fragrance, three forms of Sarcoccoca in the Anglesea Abbey Winter Garden providing pollen and nectar for awakening Queen Bumbles and other Pollinators.


48 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday – Winter’s Headily Fragrant Sarcoccoca

    • We visited last week and many of the snowdrops were already going over, probably because of the earlier mild temperatures, even the snowdrops on the sales table were looking past their best. In the shadier areas though there were still a few worth seeking out. The dogwoods and willows were looking brilliant though under the bluest of skies.

    • Thanks Julian, I had been reading an article on planting a Sarcoccoca hedge as an alternative to Box (to combat Box Blight) interesting they sulk for you, thats obviously not a solution for all sites then. I hope you are feeling better. BW, Julie

      • I have had a Sarcococca in my top dry shady bed and it really hasn’t grown at all though it looks healthy enough. No flowers yet either – maybe this year it will take off. They are lovely plants though for this time of the year, so maybe I should splash out on another one for a more favourable spot.

      • They are reported to thrive on neglect and dry shade, maybe the soil needs a little enrichment, I hope it flowers next year for you Annette, its worth waiting for!

    • They are last years berries Tina, still lingering, I agree its lovely to see both at the same time. At home we have occasionally see birds eating the berries but seeing an early bee enjoying the flowers makes its a real winner.

  1. I love your photos!!! I love your plants!!! Did I mention, I love your blog-tee hee. I need to stop by more often. Tis the season to be busy planting right now here inside-so I don’t get much on the comptuer.

    • I like your blog too Robbie, your new makeover means I can’t comment as before, that seems to be switched off, but maybe you are too busy planting anyway!!

      • I know Julie, I have been so busy growing out plants for other people that I just am not near my computer much these days. I hate to be rude to people and let their comments sit there and I can’t always get time to respond:-( I will put it back on in the future when I am not so busy—but I do love your blog and wow-your photos!!!

    • I’ve just accepted this name without thinking it through, you’ve had me looking ‘confusa’ up and ‘uncertain, easily mistaken, mingled’, according to my ‘Plant Names Explained’ book, but think that you are right, the combination of powerful fragrant flowers in winter is an oddity! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sarcoccoca is a star of the garden for me. I have only got confusa but it self seeds around so much I have given a lot of plants away here as it is very poorly recognised in this area. I should make an effort to get some of the other varieties. Amelia

    • Its a star for me too Amelia, like you I have S.confusa and have found it easy to grow from seed, occasionally we see birds take the berries but not often. At Anglesea they grew Sarcoccoca hedges which were a joy to see, I’d like one here!

  3. I don’t think I’ve seen this plant before – or maybe I have and just didn’t know its name. The flowers are very pretty. Are they as delicate as they look? The dark coloured bee made me wonder (whimsically) if bees ever get hay fever! Wouldn’t that be strange.

  4. How lovely. I should go smell them if I can fit in a visit. Which type do you prefer (if you had to chose one)? I like the look of S. hookeriana, but get the impression S. confusa has more flowers and nectar.

  5. I have a S. confusa too. I planted it some years ago and it took a while to get comfortable but all is well now. It has grown a lot in the last three years and smells wonderful at the moment. Your photos are always so lovely – I want to reach out and touch the plants! Anglesey Abbey is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    • You’d like Anglesea Abbey Clare, although its only 45 minutes from here, I have not visited in the Summer, I hope to rectify that this year. Bit of an odd forecast ahead with some wind, rain and chilly days, I hope at least there is some chance for you to get and about, have a lovely weekend Clare.

  6. What a gorgeous shrub! When I first saw the photo I thought it was Jasmine. How wonderful that it has flowers, berries and is so scented. Oh goodness….and I loved, loved the beautiful bee coated in all that pollen – bee heaven!!
    – Kate

    • I am surprised this is not a plant grown in the US, its not a native, originating from China, but the scent is absolutely wonderful and bees love it, I think you’d like it very much too Kate. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I actually looked it up Julie as for some reason it sounded familiar. It seems that it is grown here but perhaps a zone further north so maybe it likes it a little cooler. I will continue to research though as I love adding different shrubs to the garden along the edges of the woods, especially if it is good for wildlife! Thank you for telling me about it! xx

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