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An evergreen shrub usually under 2 ft high; young shoots hairy, at least when young. Leaves varying in shape, being broadest at, above or below the middle, obtuse or acute at the apex, usually tapered at the base, 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. wide, more or less hairy on both sides when young, usually becoming glabrous and glossy above when mature, but sometimes permanently downy on both sides. Flowers usually white, cream or yellowish, sometimes tinged with pink, fragrant, borne in May and June in terminal clusters of three to eight; bracts none; tube of perianth hairy on the outside, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, lobes lanceolate to ovate, acute or obtuse at the apex, varying in length from almost as long as the tube to one-third as long. Fruits red, enclosed in the perianth tube until almost ripe.
D. oleoides, originally described from Crete, has a wide distribution from Spain and N. Africa through southern Europe to Asia Minor. It is a very variable species, especially in degree of hairiness of the shoots and leaves and in the length and shape of the perianth-lobes, but it is impossible to subdivide it satisfactorily into varieties or subspecies.
D. oleoides was probably introduced early in the 19th century, though Keissler doubted whether the cultivated plant figured in Bot. Mag., t. 1971 (1818) really was D. oleoides, as it was thought to be. It is not common in gardens and less attractive than either D. collina or D. × neapolitana.
D. oleoides var. kosaninii Stoyanov